#LatinosTeach, Recognizing Martha Maitchoukow


Martha Maitchoukow is currently a 7th and 8th grade English Magnet Teacher at Markham Middle School in Watts, California – Markham is one of sixteen PLAS – Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. Her passion for English emerged when she was 8 years old as a result of living in the Venezuelan oil field camps, at the time operated by major American oil corporations where most people spoke English. She set her mind to one day speak English and she made it happen. Her parents sent her away to school in an all-girls boarding school in Canada. She learned the language (not without going through the pain and struggle of someone who comes to a country where no one speaks your native language, this later would help her better understand her students) and successfully completed high school.

She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Loyola Marymount University, got received her Masters degree from University of Phoenix and a second degree from University of San Diego, both Summa Cum Laude.

Her undeniable passion for education comes from a father who so strongly believed in literacy and writing, someone who woke her up earlier in the mornings to read, someone who believed with all his heart and soul that every child has an inalienable right to a quality education. She began her teaching career in the United States with the Azusa Unified School District where she found much needed support, not only from a group of amazing co-workers but a family; however, one day she heard about the need for teachers at underserved schools in Los Angeles. She began her quest and was blessed with the opportunity of teaching in Watts.

She was chosen as The Magnet Teacher of the Year, PLAS Outstanding Educator and City of Los Angeles award for dedication and commitment to the students.

Why do you teach? I teach because teaching is definitely ‘my calling’; teaching fills my heart and my life wearing all the different hats as a teacher, psychologist, counselor, advisor and many times a mom. It gives me so many opportunities to be a ‘life saver’ because I not only teach my students curriculum, I know I need to teach them life skills; how to build bridges not walls so that they can successfully get to their destinations. I teach because I believe in every child that walks into my classroom every year, and I know I can be an inspiration and a positive influence in their lives.

What do you love about teaching? I love everything about teaching because I believe teaching is the most enriching and rewarding profession in the world. I look forward to seeing how every day my students discover their talents and believe that indeed they are wired for greatness. I love the trust and rapport I build with them and the open channel of communication so that they can come and share with me their issues and concerns.

When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you? I did have two teachers who impacted my life: my 3rd grade teacher because the tons of patience she had with me wanting to be the class clown, and my 9th grade teacher who led me to believe that I was a genius for math which eventually led me to become an environmental engineer.