Jack MacDonald


Jack MacDonald -- Lifetime Members Honoured at the May 2012 Luncheon


We are pleased to welcome Jack MacDonald as a lifetime member of the Langley Retired Teachers’ Association. 

Jack  was born in May, 1927 in Charlotte-town, P.E.I., the third son of a CN maintenance foreman in a family of 8 children -- 7 boys and 1 girl.  His father earned the money while his mother was busy looking after the home and children.  There often seemed to be a shortage of money.  He notes, “We had our own home but no car or bicycles.  We walked a lot!”


Before Jack began his teaching career, he worked in the Arctic for a year and saved enough money to complete his degree at UBC.  His girlfriend at the time, Millie, suggested that he get serious.  There were lots of teaching positions available.  She encouraged him to take the one year program which was offered for those with an acceptable degree.  He discovered there were two education officials charged  with the duty of checking qualifications.  They were located in the same wartime building across the hall from each other.  Dr. A. was in a hurry to leave, but he quickly looked over his degree subjects, said he didn't believe he’d qualified and left him standing outside his office.  Before he could recover, Dr. B. arrived, looked at his degree subjects, and was pleased to accept him into the program.  Millie was pleased, too.  They were married later that year. 



Jack’s first teaching assignment was in 1961, as head teacher at Milner School,  and enrolling a grade 5/6 class.   Jean Little was teaching grades 1 and 2,  and Betty Mair had grades 3 and 4.


All 26 years of Jack’s teaching career (1961-1987) were spent with Langley School District.  He taught at:  Milner, Murrayville, Aldergrove (twice), Fort Langley, North Otter & Simonds.


One of the aspects that Jack enjoyed most about teaching was the fact that it was a total commitment of time and energy during the school year.  He found that one of the most challenging aspects of being a teacher was finding a way of dealing fairly with students, of supporting teachers and of maintaining good relations with parents.


When Jack first started teaching, there was one superintendent, one supervisor (primary) and large classes.  He recalls that, in 1962, his Murrayville grade 5/6 class had 45 children, which was  reduced to 40, after a month.  And, in 1965, the North Otter grade one and two class had 39 children with Mrs. Janzen all year.


Over the years, Jack noticed that the class sizes became smaller and more supervisory help was available.


One of the most memorable people during Jack’s teaching career was Mary Jamieson. She was one of the many wonderful teachers that he worked with over the years.  Mary worked with many difficult children.  She cared deeply for each one of them.  Last Christmas he received a card with a note from Mary saying that she would be one hundred years of age in July this year.  She lived in Langley most of her life but moved to a condominium in Burnaby after she retired. 


Jack would like to thank all the great teachers who taught his three children, Susan, Rob & Loryl.  All three of them have completed university and post-grad degrees. 



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