Six year old Mario Futia comes to the Montreal Children’s Hospital regularly for dialysis treatment.

He’s there so often, he has the help of a tutor while he’s there. 

Peter Tsatoumas is a teacher who works at the hospital with Mario and many other children who are ill. 

“It reminds them they are still responsible for something outside of the hospital so keeps them grounded with the community,” he said. 

These children need treatments such as dialysis several times a week, which takes them away from school.

Teacher Sylvie Dubuc also works at the hospital with Tsatoumas. She is helping Allyssa Maraj to finish high school while receiving dialysis.

“It does help,” said Maraj. “I would do an hour with her and then a couple of hours on my own.” 

Teaching in a hospital is not for everyone. Many teachers are afraid of the emotional toll that can come from being with ill children.

Peter admits he was reluctant, until he tried a stint working at a school with special needs students.

“It turned out to be very interesting, very rewarding and actually helped to work here too,” he said. 

Five years later Tsatoumas is still teaching children at the hospital. He says he sees how important his role is in providing a sense of normalcy to these children and their parents.

Both teachers say dealing with one student at a time can be rewarding. 

“We're basically one-on-one so you can really get to know what the student needs,” said Dubuc.