Kitty Donohoe grew up in the home her great grandfather built in the Yosemite Valley, after homesteading there in the late 1800’s. Being remote, Yosemite did not have easy access to education, but her great grandparents persevered in ensuring their children were highly educated: her grandfather earned his medical degree and a great aunt earned her Master’s in Mathematics from UC Berkeley. “We were surrounded by the influence of nature… my parents revered literature and poetry. Yeats, Longfellow, Tolkien,and Shakespeare were constant companions read aloud by the fireside in our Sierra home,” she says. This is where her inspiration to become a teacher grew.
She earned her Master’s Degree and teaching credential at UCLA, and she is now in her 29th year teaching primary grades at Roosevelt. She has a love for her profession, “now more than ever,” she says. The children keep her inspired as she finds them, “eager and curious to learn, unabashedly honest, and charmingly funny! And the Roosevelt community itself is wonderful: parents, teachers, families…like a small village of support in the larger metropolitan area where we reside.”
Donohoe considers herself a life-long learner. Around a decade ago, she became a Fellow with the Cotsen Foundation and was able to focus on improving specific areas in her practice: specifically reading and writing workshop. Since then she’s been attending institutes at Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in Manhattan, and she also facilitates a Westside Reading and Writing Workshop Network for Cotsen alumni. Roosevelt Elementary is a Project School of Teachers College and they are fortunate to have staff developers on a regular basis to support Roosevelt in reading and writing practice.
And now we come back to the students. Because I’ve taught for so long, many of my students are grown, changing the world, all over the world…one is running for lieutenant governor of Vermont, another a well-known author in Ireland, others prominent in medicine and law. I recall the late Christa McAuliffe quote on why she taught and this was her response,“I touch the future. I teach.”
Another love is illustrating and writing. I am represented by a literary agent in New York who is shopping around children’s books that I have written. This passion for art and writing matches what I do in my classroom with the students I love so much. This love of language is shared by my wonderful husband, Homi, who supports me in all that I do. He is from India, and I am from the American West. Our home is truly east meets west.
Finally, here is a snapshot of what I love most of all about being a teacher. I recall one day when I was getting into my car after teaching, a young student of mine was wildly jumping up and down, clapping with a gleeful gaze in his eyes-just because he saw me and my car! Now you tell me, would any other profession make one feel so loved and appreciated? I dare you to name one.