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Local French Immersion teacher the best in Alberta

Chana Macdonald

A teacher at École Central Middle has been named the Alberta French Immersion Educator of the Year awarded by Canadian Parents for French (Alberta Branch) and the Alberta French Language Education Consortium.

Chana MacDonald was given the news in front of the school’s French Immersion students, to which they chanted Chana’s name in excitement and appreciation.

This provincial award acknowledges excellence in French Immersion teaching as well as initiative and innovation. They also seek to recognize those who motivate students to achieve their best and contribute significantly to their school and community.

“It was unreal. I had zero clue this was happening,” she said, of hearing the news. “I was taken aback.”

Chana grew up as 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.”

Chana added she 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 laughed. “Having fun with the kids and seeing those lightbulb moments - that is what feeds my desire to come to work every day.”

Chana sees firsthand the benefits of students learning a second language throughout their grade school years.

“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.”

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

Amanda Wilson, Principal at École Central Middle, said Chana is an exceptional teacher who is passionate about her craft and about promoting and infusing the French language into the school.

"She goes above and beyond to ensure that every student feels welcome, comfortable and supported,” she 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 highly engaging and collaborative. Chana meets students where they’re at and ensures that every student in her classes experiences success.”

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