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Mother hands off 3rd grade teaching job to her son

August 1, 2018

WALTON, Ind. (AP) — If you’ve been a third grader at Lewis Cass Elementary School — formerly Thompson Elementary School — sometime in the past 35 years, chances are pretty good that you might have had Karen McDonald as a teacher.

And if you will be a third grader at Lewis Cass Elementary School sometime in the next 25-30 years, chances are pretty good that you might be taught by Bryce McDonald, her son.

That’s because, while the former retired last year, the latter is now taking over her old position — even moving into the same classroom.

“It’s pretty neat,” Bryce — who taught at Caston School Corporation for the past eight years — said when asked about moving to Lewis Cass. “This place has a lot of good memories for me, and it’ll be a pleasure to teach here.”

Bryce continued, citing the numerous relatives he has that are also teachers.

“This place just reminds me of family,” he said. “A lot of my family went to Lewis Cass or taught at Lewis Cass, and it’s just a very warm and inviting place to come and teach. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect place, and this is where I plan on ending my teaching career.”

And the McDonald surname isn’t anything new to the corporation either, Karen stated.

Jim McDonald, Karen’s father-in-law and Bryce’s grandfather, started the Future Farmers of America program at Lewis Cass several years ago. He even created some of the wooden storage units that Karen used throughout her teaching career — the same shelves that his grandson will now use.

For Karen, leaving her old classroom in the hands of her son brings excitement, but it also means a lot of leftover supplies will now fall into good hands.

“First of all, it’s awesome that I didn’t have to clean my room,” she said laughing. “But it was nice that they hired him soon enough that I knew it was him. I would have left all of this for anyone, but it was nice that I knew he would be able to use anything I had left.”

Having Bryce follow in her footsteps also gives Karen a lot of pride, she said.

“Just to know that he’s going to carry on the tradition,” she said, “that makes me happy.”

So what’s the best McDonald to McDonald advice when it comes to teaching?

Attitude, Bryce said.

“I would say my mom always led by example, and it was the attitude that she always tackled every day with,” he said. “She has the best attitude, and it’s contagious. You come to work with that, and everyone around you will want to do the same kind of work you’re doing. She’s just the perfect example of how to be a great teacher.”

Along with that, Karen said teaching is also about respect, flexibility, patience and kindness.

That last one in particular, she said, that might be the most important quality of all.

“You have to really be kind to these kids every day,” she said. “Some students might be a little harder than others, but you have to have a heart for it and want to do it. Because you just never know. You might be the only smile those students see that day.”

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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