Every other month you can find a new “Get to know our tutors” video right here on our blog. We’ve got some great ones so stay tuned!

Get to know Janet, a wonderful tutor and teacher (and you get to meet her dog too!).


Hi I’m Heather Desjardins, and we’re here with another “Meet Your Tutors” and here we have the wonderful Janet with us.

Hi Janet!

Hi Heather. Well I’ve always wanted to be a teacher and I remember when I was six years old, and my parents gave me a little blackboard like this with letters and numbers around it, and a pack of colored chalks, and I would sit my dolls and teddy up and teach them anything I’d learned at school. So, right from then, so I’ve always been interested in teaching education. 

And what was it that made you decide to start working with The Open Door?

Well, in summer 2017 we moved from Alberta to Ottawa, and I thought I would retire gracefully, after a few months I thought okay…no, this won’t do at all. So, I was looking around for something useful to do and I came across you guys and thought Oooo…this looks good, so I applied.

Well that’s great!

Well I, I can’t manage the getting up at 6 o’clock, working 10 hours, then doing 3 hours of marking, and you know, I can’t manage that anymore. But this is just wonderful.

Yes, we do have some tutors who choose to wake up at 6 a.m. and tutor students at 7 a.m., but I’m not one of those people either! So…

So, a few little things to get to know you. What is it that you like to do to unwind?

Well, my very, very favorite thing is stories. I have to think about this, but it’s stories. So, I’ve always got a book on the go, and I’ve always got an audiobook on the go which I listen to when I’m walking my dog, and I’ve always got a drama on TV to watch. So, it’s stories, I like stories. Yeah that’s my favorite thing. But I can, I knit, so I can watch a drama on the television and knit at the same time! Yeah, I love knitting, and what else do I like to do?  I’ve got a little dog called Benji, Benji do you want to come and say hello? Benji? No, he’s on his bed he’s not interested. I’ll go and get him so you can say hello to Benji.

Just one moment! Benji, come and say hello! Come on! Lazy bones! He’s a little old man! This is little Benji. Come here. He’s a little old man. Aren’t you? So, I walk my dog.

He’s so cute!

He is cute, isn’t he? Go on, off you go. I walk my dog and I like to do yoga as well.

Okay! So, you know you wouldn’t have had time for those 6:00 a.m. wake-up 12-hour shifts and marking because you’ve

-not any more-

got good stuff going on!


That’s great!

So, if you’re on a desert island and there’s only one thing you could bring with you, what would it be and why?

Okay, well if I was really practical, I’d ask for a tool box, or least a box of matches or something like that. But no. I would like a box of books. Now, can I have a box of books?

I don’t see why not.

Or do I have one book?

Well one thing, is a box of books!

Oh good! Good, good! In that case I’ve had a box of books please! A whole trunk full of them!

One that takes up about half the island!

Yeah! That would suit me! I’m afraid I’m not very practical so.

All right well, now we’re going o go into our little rapid-fire question part of the interview so I’m going to ask you some questions.  Don’t even give any thought to the answer. Some of them I think I might already, know just based what we’ve talked about so far but give me your answers and we’ll see what we get.

So the first question: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A dog person.

Yeah. What did you eat for breakfast today?

I had two slices of very thick wholemeal toast with butter and marmalade.

Oh lovely.

And tea! A cup of tea. I always have tea the first thing in the morning, yeah.

Ah! and actually it’s funny because my next question: Do you prefer coffee or tea?

Oh! Now, mmm..ooo! Do I have to answer that  question? Um, um… Well, at the moment coffee.

Fair enough!

And what’s your favorite winter activity?

Snuggling up by the fire with a good book!

You know what, I have agree with you on that one!

That’s the one thing I like about Canadian winters, is that it’s a good excuse to hibernate!

And then the last one, which I’m going to change, this is going to be challenging maybe. What’s your favorite book?

That’s like asking what’s your favorite child? Or what’s your favorite food?

Okay, I’m going to alter it out of kindness. What is a book that you love?

Oh, gosh. A book that I love.

Not the ONLY book you love, just a book you love.

Okay, a book that I love?


I can show it to you if you want me to.


Yeah? I’ll go, it’s on my bookshelf.


This is a book that I love. Look at the state of it.

Oh, why it’s very loved!

Very loved!

Okay, my parents gave me this book when I was ten, so it’s very old! And it’s a book of, it’s a book of poetry, a book of poetry for children and look, the covers come off now. and I’ve always loved it and I used to take it to school with me and read poems to school. Here look, it’s got pictures in it. So, I think that I couldn’t even though it’s really tatty and you know I could never get rid because that’s my favorite book.

Yeah, it’s just been very loved.

Very loved!

It shows the story of years of love. Well that’s good!

Okay, well that’s the end of that section, so the last question I have for you is: If you can think of any particular standout moment that you’ve had working with a student while you’ve been working with us that’s really been something that jumps out as a great moment.

Yes well, as I think many tutors might corroborate is sometimes we’re not the student’s favorite person to see after the especially after they’ve done a whole day at school, okay, and I come knocking on the door and..

 “Ooom, I’ve got to do more work?”

Okay, then so it’s hard work for them. I had one student one day that was  really fed up not really not wanting to do this, really. What can I do to turn this around? So I we got to the bottom of the page of the new learning and I said, Do you know what I’m fed up of teaching! You’re gonna teach me how to do this. Alright? Because I said I’m fed up, I don’t really want to do this today you’re going to teach me I’m going to learn how to do it. So he went back to the top of the page I gave the student control. Okay, right, okay, now you’re going to teach me how to do it. Okay, well, absolutely loved that. Over the page we went, and I had to do everything properly, mind you okay, and if I made a mistake “No, try again, look carefully.” And it was really good! Yes! And the rest of the lesson went, we sailed through the rest of the lesson! So, ah, it worked a treat and I thought, even though it was I thought that you know I’d like we’d lost it, but that student really had got it absolutely got it! So I was really pleased about that!

That’s great!


Maybe there’s another little teacher in training there you know? If she likes it so much! And then you got to see that she actually did, understand what you taught and then she got to reinforce it by teaching it back to you and have some fun. That’s great! I love that!

I think it’s an unusual thing to do, but it worked that once!

Yes, and if anything we need to do sometimes is to get pretty unusual with some ideas and strategies


Which I know you can relate to. Ok well…oh sorry go ahead!

No, I was gonna say instead of, you know same old same old, “oh..okay” just sort of suck it up sometimes and maybe turn things on their head something just for just for a while just to bring it back. Yeah!

And obviously it worked, which is great!

It did that once! Yes!

Oh, that’s great. So, thanks so much for taking a little time to chat with us and letting people get to know you. It was a lot of fun and we got to meet your dog too!

Oh yes! But he’s going back to his bed he’s not really interested, is he?

Ah well you know…

He’s little he’s a little old man.

One of those curl up by the fire dogs too right?

Yes, he is.

Not romping in the snow. Okay great well, thanks again and I will talk to you soon!

Okay, it’s nice to talk to you Heather.

Nice to talk to you.

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