Teacher Feature: Ms. Donna

Ms. Donna Matheson-LeFort | D-PREP Primary School Teacher

Ms. Donna Matheson-LeFort

Primary School Homeroom Teacher

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
    ~ Dalhousie University
  • Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Anthropology
    ~ St. Mary’s University
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education
    ~ University of Nottingham
  • Master of Science Candidate Psychological Practice
    ~ University of Edinburgh

“What brought me here is the innovation, but what keeps me here is the sense of family”

Ms. Donna is one of our Primary School teachers here at D-PREP. She is currently teaching our Grade 3 students and is in her 5th year here with us. At D-PREP she has taught from kindergarten to lower primary school.

Being a practicing archeologist at the beginning of her career Ms. Donna started her Teaching Career part-time by volunteering in ESL Departments in schools in Canada and also in Community Centers. She taught English to a wide range of students; from early years to adults.

Education is an important part of her life and based on her previous experience and career path, she assumed it would put her on a path to becoming a university professor. After coming to Thailand for a vacation; however, she fell in love with the culture and the people; and decided to transition that love of teaching to another part of the world. Thailand has been her home since 2011.

Before joining D-PREP, Ms. Donna has taught in several schools here in Thailand. She taught mostly in the upper primary school and high school levels. Upon learning from a co-teacher from her previous school about an amazingly innovative school (D-PREP), being run by someone who wants to think outside of the box and wants to create a school totally different from any other schools here in Thailand; it piqued her interest. She was willing to do whatever it took to work there (here).

Now in her 5th year at D-PREP, Ms. Donna continues to inspire her students every day. She believes that the classroom is a living community and that everyone, from the principal to the students to the parents, must contribute in order to maintain a positive atmosphere.

Homeroom teacher, Ms. Donna in her classroom with Kindergarten

Why did you choose to become a teacher?

“Becoming a teacher was a natural progression because I’m always involved in my own education all the time and I’m still in University now in my 50s – disseminating information is a passion. I couldn’t stop doing it if I wanted to. I never planned on teaching in a school at this age group, but I find that I can still use that craft of wanting to teach and bring the world to people no matter what their age is.”

Why teach in Primary School?

Ms. Donna in the library with Primary school students

“Because I’ve taught the spectrum from Kindergarten up to Secondary, there’s this sweet zone in Primary where students are capable of doing the work.”

“They have a passion for learning that hasn’t been drawn away yet by other social lures. Like when I taught Middle School and Secondary, they are very social, and sometimes education becomes secondary to them; or they aren’t going to schools as progressive as D-PREP so they lose that spark, with learning.”

“And I found that with Primary students, especially the age I’m teaching now in grade 3, they have that drive to learn and to want to show you what they can do.”

What do you love most about being a teacher and teaching here at D-PREP?

“Teaching in Thailand and teaching here at D-PREP gives me that chance to see the world through another set of eyes. Talking to adults, you don’t always get to have that unfiltered idea of what Thailand is about. When you see it through children, you experience it and live it through children.” 

“You have a totally different appreciation for what the culture is because they’re very honest about what they think being Thai is and what they think Thailand is about. So it’s a refreshing point of view as compared to asking an adult what it is that’s appealing about Thailand.”

What do you love most about Thailand?

“The food. It’s the food!”

“I have friends in Canada – my friends in Canada are all from different cultures – who’ve asked me ‘Were there any foods that you’ve missed.” I reply, ‘No, there’s not.’”

“There is a large enough international community here that if you want Italian, or Mexican, or Spanish, it’s here. There’s nothing to miss, it’s a very cosmopolitan city.

What do you usually do during the weekend or holidays?

“Every Saturday morning we have one Thai restaurant that we order about 7 massive dishes from and that’s our Saturday brunch or breakfast. That’s one of my favorite things about Thailand.”

Is there anything you want to say to our D-PREP Community?

“What brought me here is the innovation, but what keeps me here is the sense of family. A Lot of schools try to be innovative, everybody’s concerned with the 21st century. But what keeps me here is the sense of family and the actual families who are part of the school who have been here since I’ve been here. And still remain staunch supporters of D-PREP, being faithful to that sense of family; contributing to it regularly, and supporting the teachers.”

“I don’t think I could find a group of parents any more supportive of my career than the parents I’ve been teaching and working with for the last 5 years. So that’s what D-PREP means to me. It’s Family and Community.”

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