Learn About Teacher Dooley

Reach your goals with one-on-one tutoring

Melinda K. Dooley was born in Austin, Texas, in 1986, where she completed her K-12 education. It wasn’t until graduate school that she started going by Millie, but she learned she’s always been a teacher or a tutor.

My Strengths & Weaknesses

In high school, I joined the track team. I’m slow, so I did field events, and not particularly well. I loved it, anyways. Our district had a “No Pass, No Play” rule. If a hurdler failed Algebra, she couldn’t compete. It was my job to prevent that from happening. Yes, my major contribution to the track team was academic.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I never had to work very hard in high school. I definitely benefited from the forced scheduling. It wasn’t until I started college at MIT in 2004 that I really began to learn how to learn. I struggled–a lot. With MIT’s blessing, I took a year off to deal with under-managed depression.

I got back on the horse and finished my degree in Brain & Cognitive Sciences (basically neuroscience, but with a bit more behavior and language) with a minor in Women & Gender Studies.

A close-up of a brown horse named Bentley - which we learn by reading his bridle.
Speaking of horses…

At this point, I still thought I was going to vet school, so I needed to flesh out my animal science prerequisites–West Texas, here I come! I started a Masters of Animal Science program focusing on Equine Science at Sul Ross State University, which lasted a year before I realized I was more interested in what was living on the horses than the horses themselves.

Switching from animal science to pure biology, I also shifted from tutoring in the peer resource center to TA’ing lower-level Biology courses. One of the professors of Introductory Biology had mentally checked out, and would call me in to lecture when he wasn’t feeling it. I found out I love teaching at any level, from one-on-one to lecturing a classroom.

This newfound appreciation of humans led me to apply to human Medical School, instead of Veterinary Medical School. I got in, and matriculated at Texas Tech School of Medicine in 2012…

…where the depression reared its ugly head again, and I dropped out in 2014. On the bright side, the best part of medical school–by far–was the volunteer sex education crew. High school teachers–health, PE, or even Biology–would invite us to teach reproductive science to their young learners. I later learned that in some cases, we were likely breaking Texas law regarding sex ed, but I’m actually a bit proud of that.

Turns Out I’m A Teacher

So, I dropped out of medical school and became a high school teacher. I taught Intro Bio. In Texas, you have to take a state test in Bio to graduate high school–so I also taught the exam review course for kids who’d already failed. I also taught AP Environmental Science, a college-level course. I loved teaching every level, from basic to advanced. That is–it’s just as satisfactory to work with troubled folks struggling for bare minimum as it is to work with gifted folks reaching for the stars.

In fact, this is part of my philosophy–we’re all gifted in some ways, and troubled in some ways. I consider myself neurodivergent in at least a few different categories, but I’m also gifted in other ways. If I may be so bold, I think I’m an excellent tutor, especially in Algebra and Biology.

Siamese cat curled up with her tongue out
I also have three beautiful cats, which is quite an achievement

Learn What I Can Do For You

I’ve had to learn how best I learn–let me share my trial and error with you in a study skills/time management consultation! In particular, here’s some quick advice: use planners/calendars, and as you study, force yourself to recall information from scratch. Have more frequent, shorter study sessions instead of one all-night cram, and never lose sleep to study.

If you need help in any math up to Algebra or Geometry, or in Biology? I’m your gal! If your young learner doesn’t enjoy reading and writing as much as you wish they did? Let’s talk!