February Top Notch Teacher

Jane Macdonald says she’s always had a passion to work with children. Fourteen years ago she joined the West Salem school district as a kindergarten teacher.

Now, Mrs. Macdonald is what you call a looping teacher. Every other year she welcomes a new class of kindergartners and follows them to first grade. It helps her emphasize the important connection between school and home.

“I spend a lot of time making sure that we make that connection. And it makes it even easier being with the students and their families for two years,” said Mrs. Macdonald.

Raising her own children is what pushed her to become a teacher and believe in her students , “I saw the difference you can make with children by guiding them and loving them and teaching them about all the things that are important.”

Her favorite lesson is the combination of reading and writing.

“I think you can express yourself so well through writing and so I really try to make that reading and writing connection. And when I see them being able to write, and write the words and spell the words because they’re also reading, it’s that connection together that you say they’ve made it.” said Mrs. Macdonald.

Another connection that brings teaching full circle for Mrs. Macdonald is her lessons about character.

“We make that connection to caring about others and to really believe in respecting each other and treating each other with kindness,” said Mrs. Macdonald, “I think that’s the part of teaching that I’m even loving more because I think that’s so important to install that on children of this age.”

Mrs. Macdonald says her looping schedule makes it hard to say good bye to her students and send them on to second grade. But, she says many of them come back to visit and she tries to follow them as they grow up. Her 1996 kindergarten class from her first year of teaching graduated last spring.