Meet a Brooke Associate Teacher: Shaslyn Clark

Brooke Newsletter

We sat down with Shaslyn Clark, an Associate Teacher and incoming 2024-2025 1st grade teacher at Brooke Roslindale. Joining the Associate Teacher Program was a significant transition for Shaslyn, giving her the chance to improve her skills in a supportive setting. Shaslyn reflects on her year, sharing what she’s enjoyed, what’s been challenging, and how she’s grown along the way.

What were you doing before you started at Brooke?

After growing up in Dorchester and the Greater Boston Area, I went to UMASS Boston and graduated in 2023 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. I also worked in an afterschool program in Quincy for two years. 

What motivated you to become a teacher?

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. Having two younger sisters meant I had my own practice students. I remember my mom buying me an easel with a whiteboard, and I would often play with them, asking questions like “What’s the weather today?” I enjoyed teaching them new things.

What inspired you to apply to Brooke’s Associate Teacher Program?

During my last year of college, I had to complete student teaching to graduate and I was assigned to a mentor teacher who was not as supportive as I wanted. Since my sisters both attend Brooke and my mom introduced me to this program, I thought it was perfect for me.

How does the Associate Teacher Program compare to your student teaching?

The Associate Teacher Program provides us with a lot of feedback and helps us work through our growth areas. I appreciate professional development, especially at the beginning of the year, because it lets all the Associate Teachers discuss our experiences, relate about similar troubles, and give advice. I’ve noticed an improvement in my confidence and skills as a lead teacher, which  is something I didn’t have the opportunity to fully experience during my time as a student teacher.

As an Associate Teacher, what are some aspects of your role that you find most rewarding?

Getting to know all the kids. Kids greeting me with “Hi Ms. Clark!” even if I’ve never met them before. This is great because it allows me to connect with students across different grades. 

How are you continuing to grow and develop as a teacher at Brooke? 

At Brooke, I’ve felt welcomed and supported by everyone. Teachers, even those who are not my mentor teachers, always offer me helpful tips. One area I’ve improved in is my praise for students, focusing more on the positives rather than just the negatives. 

In what positive ways has your experience working at Brooke impacted you?

Nohely Vargas, another first-grade teacher, positively impacted my experience at Brooke. Nohely was my first mentor teacher, and she trusted me, and let me do whatever I needed in her classroom while giving me great feedback. And then Alice, another first-grade teacher, wasn’t my mentor, but she always provided great feedback and praise. To this day, I can always go to them to vent, and they always have my back. 

How was the Associate Teacher Interview Process for you?

I had the typical pre-interview nerves, but everyone was really kind. During my demo lesson, I felt welcomed the minute I walked in, and the number one thing that I felt like they care about is if you can own the classroom. It’s all about management, your personality, your authentic self, and showing that. 

What advice would you give to those looking to apply to the Associate Teacher program?

Do it! 100%! If you want to be a teacher but feel like you’re not ready to be a lead teacher, this is perfect. It allows you to dip your feet in until you get comfortable and gives you the space to learn and grow. I love that this program trusts us enough to be in front of the kids and really see what it’s like to be a teacher with all the right feedback and encouragement.