Former Librarian Thrives as English Teacher

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Former Librarian Thrives as English Teacher

Mrs. McDonald touring Malaga, Spain with juniors from La Salle

Mrs. McDonald touring Malaga, Spain with juniors from La Salle

Mrs. McDonald touring Malaga, Spain with juniors from La Salle

Mrs. McDonald touring Malaga, Spain with juniors from La Salle

Katie Moreland, Assistant Editor

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Although most students only know Mrs. McDonald as an English teacher, she has only been a full-time member of the English department at La Salle for the last six years. For her first 15 years, Mrs. McDonald worked primarily as La Salle’s librarian. In addition, she also taught journalism and support classes during that time.

Before La Salle, Mrs. McDonald did her undergraduate work at California State University in Sacramento, and she completed her graduate studies at Portland State, Lewis and Clark, and other Oregon colleges.

In college, Mrs. McDonald earned her Reading Specialist endorsement. In addition, she also earned her educational endorsements as a Library Media Specialist K-12, and in Language Arts 6-12.  

Mrs. McDonald wanted to use her knowledge in reading strategies to help students who struggle with reading comprehension at La Salle. Therefore, years ago while running the library, she also taught a support class. This then grew to teaching two classes: an English I class and a support class—all while running the library.

After being awarded Lasallian Educator of the Year here at La Salle, Mrs. McDonald also won the award for Secondary Librarian of the Year for Oregon in 2010. She was nominated by Tom Dudley, La Salle’s principal at the time, and was selected by the secondary librarians of Oregon to receive the award.

In the end, Mrs. McDonald switched from running the library to becoming a full time English teacher because there was a need for more English support classes. Mrs. McDonald was given a choice to either run the library and teach tech classes or move into a classroom and help students with their reading.  

“Once I was assured that I would be replaced by a certified librarian, I agreed to move into the classroom,” Mrs. McDonald said. “I made the move and have been really happy about it.”

Although Mrs. McDonald loves being an English teacher, there are times when she misses her position as a librarian.

“I miss knowing a little bit about all La Salle students and what they are interested in,” she said. “I also miss getting to order new books. There is something magical about opening a box full of unread treasures and getting to share them with others.” 

Nevertheless, Mrs. McDonald greatly enjoys being a teacher. “I really like people, especially young people. I am a very lucky person because I get to spend my days with lots of kids. Also, I am a very curious person,” she continued. “I love the fact that I have a job where I can spend part of each day satisfying my curiosity. My last but not least favorite thing about teaching is that I am in the fortunate position of guiding others along their own curiosity journeys.”

When asked to recall a favorite memory during her time as a librarian, Mrs. McDonald recalled a memory which includes La Salle’s late, beloved math teacher, Ms. Loreva Bromley. Mrs. McDonald began her story by setting the scene: “When I first started at La Salle, the library was in the area of the school where the chapel now resides. Although lots of people would stop by once and a while to visit, Miss Bromley, a serious bibliophile, stopped by often.”

“During the first airing of the Collin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice she was stopping by all the time,” Mrs. McDonald continued. “One day, as we were chatting at the desk, the bell rang.  In response to my raised eyebrows, she continued her discussion about the pond scene saying, ‘Oh, I’m okay.’ Since it was Miss Bromley, I gave the possibility that she would be late for class no further thought. One minute went by and then two, and suddenly she exclaimed, ‘Holy potatoes, I do teach 6th period!’ She ran to the door and could be heard roaring down the hall.”

“The best part of the story came after,” Mrs. McDonald continued. “She told me that she arrived to her room, [and] her students, better trained than most, were all in their seats and one student was leading a review of the homework. Miss Bromley, ever the quick wit, said to them, ‘Great job. You all passed my test.’ She and I laughed about that incident for years and I like to imagine that she tells that story in heaven.”


Have you had Mrs. McDonald as a teacher? If so, what was your favorite memory with her? Let us know in the comments below.