‘Live and Let Live’ ~ CultureWorks Ottawa Teacher, Jason Mercier

jasonThis week I’m pleased to have Jason Mercier on the Hotspot.  Jason is a teacher on our Ottawa campus, and has a lot to say about…well, read and you’ll find out!

1. What’s your favourite Canadian TV show?

Hockey Night in Canada! Clearly!


2. What idiomatic expression best describes you and why?

Hmmmm. I always liked the expression, “Live and let live”. It’s simple, to the point, has a good message and it works in any situation. Words to live by I suppose.

3. When you’re not teaching, what are you doing? Do have any hobbies and why do you like doing them?

Well, when it comes to sports, I play baseball in the summer, hockey in the winter, and occasionally squash in between. You have to keep active.

In terms of hobbies, I have a few. I like to play guitar, because obviously, it’s awesome.

I love to read. There’s an old saying: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Also, I’m a huge movie and TV buff. I binge, binge, binge. Documentaries, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones…Love em!


Finally, I love to travel. Any chance to see something new, meet new people, take some photos, and have new experiences is a must for me. I’m always on the move for a new adventure.

4. You studied and English and History before becoming a teacher, so it’s safe to say you enjoy culture. What advice do you have for CultureWorks students who want to get involved in Canadian culture?

I know how hard it is to be in a new surrounding and not having the comfort of your friends and family with you. It can be tough. I can relate. I remember living in South Korea and having some pretty crummy days. But it wasn’t until I met and started hanging out with local Koreans that I soon realized how great it was living in a new country. Then I started to take chances and try new things I NEVER thought I’d do and love doing them. I know its tempting and easy to just simply socialize with people of your own culture, but don’t limit yourself. When you socialize with others, you see the world through their eyes. It makes you more aware of how much bigger and better the world is. You grow as a person, and you’re just happier. Long answer, I know but if I can sum up in a sentence: “Move out of your comfort zone…you can only grow if you’re willing to feel awkward.” Hope it helps!

hockey night in cultureworks

5. Lastly, for fun, if you could be a mascot for any of the Canadian hockey teams, which one would you choose and why?

It would have to be ‘Carlton the Bear’ for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Go Leafs!

Meet Desi Ivanova, the Eager Beaver!

desiThis week on the CultureWorks Hotspot we are joined by Desi Ivanova.  Desi has been teaching at CultureWorks since 2009 at our Oshawa campus.  As many of our students will tell you, she’s an awesome teacher and a very fun person!

Q. What is your favourite show on Netflix right now?

A. I have been watching “White Collar” its about a con-man who is given an option to help FBI agents capture other criminals in return for his freedom.

Q.What idiomatic expression best describes you and why?

A. I would say I am an eager beaver because I like learning new things and most of the time I am enthusiastic and excited about new projects. At the start of every semester I get really pumped up about new groups of students and a new start.


Q. When you’re not teaching, what are you doing? Do you have any hobbies and why do you like doing them?

A. When I am not teaching, I am either cooking or spending time with my son. I try and stay healthy so I like exercising, which is my hobby I guess. Or maybe I just like it as it clears my head and helps me relax. I also enjoy reading books and watching documentaries. I am really into the documentaries right now. I just finished one on Dubai, it was very interesting.


Q. You are excellent with people, Desi. How do you make our students feel comfortable in class? What do your students need when they first come to CultureWorks?

A. I once was an ESL student myself so I understand the hardship that new students experience. I feel for their struggle to fit in and adjust to a new culture. In class, I try and keep it light and positive. I always want all of my students to be heard and to feel happy coming to class. I often try and get to know more about my students by asking them what their hobbies, favourite music/movies are. I think when students first come to CultureWorks, they need to feel welcome and excited about being here. I think they need to feel like this is their home away from home, and that someone here cares about them and their education.



Q. Lastly, for fun, if you could add one item, food or beverage, to the Tim Horton’s menu, what would it be? Why?

A. I would add Nutella sandwiches with the option of adding peanut butter because Nutella is like heaven on earth and everyone everywhere totally LOVES Nutella! Its like Italy with pasta! Canada with Nutella! 🙂


There we have it folks.  An eager beaver who loves documentaries and eats ‘nutellwiches’.  What more could you ask for in a teacher?  Thanks Desi, I hope you can stop by the blog again soon. 🙂