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!
Leigha is not only one of our amazing tutors, but she is also Director of Education and Training.
Hi! I’m Heather Desjardins and this is another edition of “Get to know your tutors” and today we have Leigha, Hi Leigha!
Hi! Um, so, first question, how long have you been working with us?
Ummm, I am just coming up to five years with the company.
And why was it that you got into the field of education?
Since a young age, I just knew that I was going to be a teacher, and that has looked different throughout my life. Um, but I did do a work experience in grade 10, I think I was, and I got to work with a grade four class, and I actually got to work with one of my teachers who had taught me in elementary school, and I remember after that it was solidified that I wanted to be a teacher. I absolutely loved it, I loved everything about it.
Yeah, so that sort of, locked in the path for you.
So, aside from the teaching and tutoring, you have another important role with us as the Director of Education and Training. Why don’t you tell people a little bit about what that other “hat” involves with the company.
Yeah so, I started out taking on some extra roles, one of them includes interviewing perceptive tutors, I also do the training for tutors, along with that, some quality control. So we have regular observations that we have tutors complete. They record a session with a student and we provide some feedback. I do a lot of coaching with our tutors to make sure that they’re doing the best they can for their students. I also answer tutor questions if things or issues arise, as well, when a tutor is initially matched with a family, I go to the initial appointment with the tutor to introduce the family to the tutor, and I also do a short, student screening that goes along with that.
Yeah! So, lots of really important tasks! Basically, things having to do with our programming and educational content, which you do fantastically, by the way. Your attention to detail far surpasses my own. Which is great!
There are these writing workshops that we offer twice annually for students. I love the writing program so much, I find that it’s ideal for our profile of students. It is called Writing Structure and Style so it is a very structured approach to writing, which I like. So, students learn how to make a very specific type of outline, and then write, based from that outline. And along with that they learn stylistic techniques. So they learn some of grammar points, about adding a quality adjective or a strong verb into their writing. And they always start with a source text. So instead of having to try to come up with some ideas, it does start where they can read something first, then base their writing off of that. Eventually that moves into some more creative and inventive writing, but I find that it’s a really excellent program for teaching writing and we’ve seen a lot of success with the students that I’ve worked with.
And one of the nice things too about this program is that it doesn’t restrict itself only to students who struggle with the reading and spelling. We’ve had students where the reading and spelling isn’t an issue, but the writing isn’t as strong as they would like. It means then it can reach that wider population too.
Yep, it’s very easy to modify based on the level of the student so we can work with students who are younger that would need some more basic writing techniques, but I find it translates really well across different abilities.
Yeah. So, I’m going to ask you a couple of questions that will let us get to know you a bit better. And one of them is what’s a fun fact about yourself that your students wouldn’t necessarily know?
Maybe not a fun fact, but an unusual fact is that my favourite, one of my favourite foods in the whole world is onions. And I love every single type of onion, cooked in every different type of way, so it’s very odd, I don’t usually tell a lot of my students that. That’s one strange thing about me.
So, would you actually take any kind of pleasure from eating an onion like an apple? Are you at that level?
Not quite there! But I like them raw in salads and stuff, but I couldn’t quite get to that point.
But you love them.
Mmm on pizza, onion in salad, onions in everything!
Well hopefully you don’t load up on too many onions right before meeting your poor students one-on-one! Hhhhello!
Maybe just when online!
What’s your favourite things about working for The Open Door?
I’ve told Heather this before, and honestly, I told her that at one point in my life I didn’t think I’d ever find a career that I just loved completely. People talk about, well, do something that you love…and I thought every job has its things that you’re not going to love or…I just didn’t think it was possible for me. And I worked in a lot of different areas. But I can honestly say I love this job, and one of the things I love the most is that I get to take that one-on-one approach with students and I find that when you can work one-on-one and individualize your approach, and get to know the student, they can just make so many great, such great success. And I know a lot of the students we work with have struggled, they can have low self- esteem, and I just love seeing those improvements and getting to encourage the along and kinda be part of their learning journey, I guess.
Aw that’s nice. Yeah. And hopefully that one-on-one isn’t just after you’ve had your onion sandwich! I will drop the onion thing now! I promise!
Alright, so now we’re just going to do some little rapid-fire questions. It’s just fun. Don’t think too much about the answer, first thing that pops in your head. Alright?
So, I’ll start off easy. What colour is your toothbrush?
It’s one of those electric ones, so it’s like white.
Would you prefer to relax at the ocean or the lake?
Ohhh, tough! Can I have both? Probably the lake.
What chore do you absolutely hate doing?
Do you have a nickname? If so, what is it?
Do I want to share?
Oh hahah, oooh.
Well I have a middle name Lou, so the nickname that I LIKE is Lou, cause my sister still calls me that.
Well we’ll go with that one then. The one that you’re willing to share with the public.
Okay, and so my last question of the day for you is if you can share a little story with us, one of those great moments?
One of the students that I had early on was just a little dear. And when I started with her she couldn’t read the most basic, three letter words. And so, we started working together and it took some time but once she started to catch on to things it just clicked. And I remember that was in the Spring that I started with her and she was in about grade two and couldn’t hardly read a single word. And by Christmas she wrote me this incredible card that said, “Dear Leigha, thank you for teaching me how to read.” And I still have that card, I was going to pull it out actually and show it but I wanted to keep things confidential and whatnot. But anyways, it meant a lot and it was just amazing to see that this girl had such huge potential and she just needed a different approach to learning. And when she had that, she just took off and blossomed. So, that’s my feel-good story.
Aww that’s great! Yeah there are many of these moments that we get to have in what we do. There’s always a few that kind of stand out.
Oh, that’s great!
Well, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us and I’ll talk to you soon!