Torrey Maldonado, Torrey Maldonado teacher
Allison Maletz
Torrey Maldonado

Educators That Rock!: Torrey Maldonado

March 26, 2010
by findingDulcinea Staff
Torrey Maldonado is an author, a sixth-grade social studies teacher at Middle School 88 in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a trained specialist in conflict resolution. Maldonado, who describes himself as a Black Puerto Rican, says he was inspired to become a teacher by his mother, who gave him homework she created herself, and by a few good teachers in Red Hook. Maldonado's first book, “Secret Saturdays,” will publish in April 2010. Learn more about “Secret Saturdays” at

fE : How did you become a writer?

TM: When I was a kid, I wrote a lot to distract my mind. In housing projects, there’s a stigma with education: If you write, then you’re into school and if you’re into school, then you’re corny. Young girl writers—those girls were called nerdy. If you’re a boy and you like to write, you get called "soft." I stuck with it. I loved writing. Writing, for me, prevented me from ending up in jail like a lot of friends that I grew up with, dead, on drugs or living beneath my full potential like a lot of unfortunate guys around me.

fE: What was the first story you ever wrote?

TM: The first story that I ever wrote wasn’t a story. I came to writing through drawing. I started drawing pictures of anything, of superheroes, of villains, of people in the neighborhood. I don’t remember what my first drawing was. I do have one drawing vividly in my mind. It’s a picture of my grandmother Milagros. Her name means miracle. My grandmother was the only other person, besides my mother, who really provided me with a safe space to drop the macho front and just be me.

Read the rest of the Q&A with Torrey Maldonado at findingEducation’s Digital Teachers’ Lounge.

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