An École Central Middle teacher has been named the Alberta French Immersion Educator of the Year, awarded by the Canadian Parents for French and the Alberta French Language Education Consortium.  

Chana MacDonald was given the news in front of the school’s French Immersion students who chanted her name in excitement and appreciation.  

“It was unreal. I had zero clue this was happening,” MacDonald said. “I was taken aback.”  

The award acknowledges excellence in French Immersion teaching, initiative, and innovation. The award recognizes individuals who motivate students to achieve their best and contribute significantly to their school and the community, a Red Deer Public Schools (RDPS) press release said.   

Growing up, MacDonald was a French Immersion student in Red Deer Public.   

“I started off in engineering and then decided to take the education route after a little bit of encouragement from one of my math teachers in high school,” she said. “I started off pursuing education in general, but I was really missing having my education be in French. I figured why waste those 13 years that I put in? So here is where I have ended up.”  

MacDonald has loved her career as a teacher.   

“The kids get me to work every day. The days they are not here are the worst days,” she said. “Having fun with the kids and seeing those lightbulb moments - that is what feeds my desire to come to work every day.”  

Throughout her career, MacDonald has seen the benefits in students who learn a second language.  

“It provides students with so many opportunities. I know for me, the fact that I took courses in French in university gave me a bursary,” she said. “I know there are many opportunities students have because they speak a second language.”  

MacDonald is currently taking her Masters in Mathematics for Teachers at the University of Waterloo.  

Amanda Wilson, Principal at École Central Middle, said MacDonald is an exceptional teacher, and her passion to infuse the French language into the school is evident.   

“She goes above and beyond to ensure that every student feels welcome, comfortable, and supported,” Wilson said. “Chana is highly relational with her students, and it is evident that they love learning with her. Because of this, her students are highly motivated and are willing to take risks and be resilient. Her classroom is engaging and collaborative. Chana meets students where they’re at and ensures that every student in her classes experiences success.”  

 

**With information provided by Red Deer Public Schools.