I had the privilege of sitting down to an engrossing and entertaining conversation with Mrs. Baldwin after a long day in the middle of a very busy season. As most teachers know, January is one of the busiest months of the school year. With both of us studiously working through student registration activities, Family and Consumer winter in-service conferences, and starting a new semester, we were lucky to find one evening (7 pm for me, and 5 pm for her) to sit and chat.
I admit I did an underwhelming job of googling Mrs. Baldwin prior to our conversation, so I spent most of the day worrying about how smoothly the conversation would run. I worried needlessly. She was warm and friendly from the very first moment and she lived up to the reputation most of us Home Ec-ky Beckys* have. The conversation flowed quickly and consistently only to end when we realized more than an hour had gone by.
Like myself, Mrs. Baldwin started her post-secondary with a different plan in mind. She started with intentions to attend medical school, but quickly realized she wanted to help people in a different way. She decided quickly to follow her mother and grandmother’s footsteps and joined the Home Ec ranks.
She started teaching in a small rural school in Colorado along with only nine other teachers. She met her husband soon afterwards and began building her teaching career actively avoiding “educational in-breeding”** by traveling around Iowa and Kansas before returning to Colorado. While moving around, she held several other jobs outside of education and developed a broader perspective that has served her well since returning to the classroom.
Now, Mrs. Baldwin teaches at Ponderosa High School, focusing on the culinary, catering, and education topics with her students. She also serves as the 2018-2019 Colorado ACTE President and loves balancing her teaching responsibilities with her presidential duties. If she could do it all again, the only thing Mrs. Baldwin change is keeping in touch with ACTE so she could have spent more time networking and advocating for the field that she and her family hold so dear to their hearts.
*Home Economics was officially re-branded as Family and Consumer Sciences in the 1990s. Many FCS teachers affectionately refer to their classes as Home Ec (and some refer to the teachers as Home Ec-ky Beckys). Do not assume you have permission. Unless you are a FCS teacher, you most likely do not have permission. J
**Mrs. Baldwin referred to the phenomenon of teachers returning to the schools they graduated from as “educational in-breeding”. We agreed the healthiest thing a person can do for a school is to gain experience outside of those schools and share their expertise with others to keep our programs, students, and communities thriving.