Meet an Associate Teacher and Her Mentor

Brooke Newsletter

The Associate Teacher (AT) Program at Brooke is a year-long teaching residency. In this program, aspiring teachers are paired with mentor teachers who provide support, coaching, and feedback throughout the full year. This program aims to diversify the teacher workforce while equipping aspiring teachers with the skills to lead high-achieving and culturally responsive classrooms.

We sat down with Ashaunte Martinez and Maliya Rodriguez, both current sixth grade Math and Science Teachers at Brooke Roslindale. During the 2021-2022 school year, Ashaunte was Maliya’s mentor while Maliya completed the Associate Teacher program. In this interview, we hear from both AT and mentor about their experiences as a pair during the program. 

Why did you choose to work at Brooke?

Ashaunte: What drew me in was the mission of Brooke because it was geared towards making changes I want to see. What made me stay was the people that worked with me as they poured into my character in a progressional way and helped me build relationships with students, families, and staff. This created a welcoming space for me.

Maliya: Similarly, when I applied as an AT, the mission of Brooke resonated with me after looking at their website. I stayed because of the people, and I couldn’t see myself not staying. I’ve never seen so many Black teachers and educators of color in one building. I really enjoy that.

Now that you both went through the program together, what did you like most about it?

Ashaunte: Maliya made everything so easy. I felt like I was spoiled. She was organized, we had open communication, and we just vibed. I think that our relationship kept going up from there. I cried to her, she cried to me. 

One time, I needed something and didn’t have the mental or physical capacity to do it. I was ready to go into the building and ask Maliya to do it, and I came in, and she had already done it! 

Maliya: Everytime I think about my Associate Teacher year, I just think that Ashaunte had a way of making me feel comfortable and open, but at the same time, she pushed me to grow. The amount of growth I had in a year was insane.

Ashaunte: It was a lot of work. It was hard, fun, uncomfortable.

Maliya: Yeah, even though it was challenging, it never felt bad. I knew I was supported. 

What are you most proud of?

Ashaunte: One thing I worked on with Maliya was making space for her to have her own voice. It was amazing to see how she gave directions, or praise. I was even taking notes from her! Maliya gives her all and it’s great to see her grow into herself. 

Maliya: Something I really appreciated about Ashaunte was how thoughtful she was about getting feedback and improving on any feedback. Especially because it was her first time mentoring, which I would not have known because of how thoughtful she was. 

What would you say was different than what you expected when you first started in the program?

Maliya: I didn’t expect to develop such a strong relationship with my mentor. I expected a professional work day where we would talk to each other and then go home and not talk until the next day. I’m glad it’s not like that. 

Ashaunte: I expected it to be harder than it was. I expected to struggle more. I can build relationships, but when I saw it on paper for this mentorship, I doubted if I could do it. And then when we met – I knew it wasn’t going to be like that. It was more than just a task or job, but a relationship.

Do you have any insights on the program that you could give to current AT and Mentor Teachers? 

Ashaunte: I would say to just be open and learn from each other. To effectively teach someone, you need to understand where they are and what they need, versus thinking what they need. 

Maliya: Similar to being open, someone won’t know how to help you unless you explain to them how to. So, be honest and open about what you can handle and want to work on so that you can grow.