Black History Month: JMCSS teacher goes above and beyond for students

JACKSON, Tenn. — “At the end of the day, you go home feeling like you have made a difference,” Donna Martin said.

One Jackson-Madison County teacher is making a difference in the classroom, changing one life after another.

“Teaching is a calling to me. I don’t think you can be a teacher unless you have a calling and a passion,” Martin said.

Martin is a sixth grade teacher at Jackson Career and Technology. She’s been at the school for 12 years and, before that, she was teaching at Parkview Montessori.

“At the end of the day my ultimate hope is they take away a love for reading,” Martin said.

The students are taking away more than that. Martin spearheads the Read 180 program, which is a reading comprehension program. She also teaches several English and Language Arts classes.

“I really wish all of our students can experience Read 180 because it builds confidence and empowerment in their reading,” Martin said.

When the students walk in the door, it’s an instant connection.

“Sometimes they will slip and they will say, ‘Mom, oh, I mean Mrs. Martin,’ so it means a lot to me. Students mean everything to me, and that’s what education is all about,” Martin said.

Her career goes beyond the classroom. She’s giving back in the community as well.

“I teach the Adult Women’s Sunday School class and I’m the youth president for our district association,” Martin said.

Martin says seeing her students grow up and be successful is the greatest honor.

“You know that you have touched them at some point in their lives down the road,” Martin said.