Getting to Know: Jamie Baldwin
This fall, we’ve been interviewing a few of our new faculty, as we welcome them to the Saint Mark’s community. Today, we feature Jamie Baldwin, our new 5th/6th English teacher. Jamie was born in Washington, D.C., but has lived all over the country. Most recently, she spent six years in New Orleans, “which was one of my favorite cities in the world,” says Baldwin.
Jamie and her family have been part of the Saint Mark’s community for a few years now. Her daughter Sasha is in second grade and her youngest Hawthorne started preschool this year. “Since my heart was with Saint Mark’s, I wasn’t interested in working anywhere else,” says Jamie. She looks forward to helping shepherd 5th and 6th grade students as “these are such crucial times for intellectual and emotional development.”
What attracted you to Saint Mark’s? What has been a highlight so far?
My daughter is a student here, so our family was already part of this community. Since my heart was with Saint Mark’s, I wasn’t interested in working anywhere else.
What are you looking forward to this year?
Fifth and sixth grades are such crucial times for intellectual and emotional development, and I’m looking forward to helping shepherd the kids through that in some small way.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have four very busy daughters, so I don’t have much free time. When I’m not facilitating their free time, I like to read and work on my own writing. I’m also training for the LA marathon.
What book are you currently reading? What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
I am currently reading Weather Woman by Cai Emmons. She was one of my professors in graduate school, and it’s always a thrill to read something by a friend. Southern fiction is probably my favorite, though. I love Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, William Faulkner, and Walker Percy.
Why did you get into the field of teaching? What do you enjoy most about being a teacher?
I started teaching in graduate school as part of a fellowship. Once I figured out that I could actually get paid to hang out with kids and talk about books, I couldn’t believe my luck. As for what I love most? It’s seeing kids reclaim their love of reading and become wiser, kinder human beings in the process.
Share a little-known fact about you, something that we might not find on your resume.
I used to write horoscopes for a living! An astrologer gave me the keywords, but if the daily word was “money,” I was the one who decided if you should go to Vegas or watch out for purse snatchers.
What is your favorite food? Your favorite color? Why?
I love very spicy food like Indian and Thai. As for my favorite colors, I like black and white and gray. There’s probably a literature metaphor in there.
Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up?
I was born in Washington, D.C. but have lived all over the country. Most recently, I spent six years in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities in the world.
Who is your biggest role model?
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
What do you hope your students will learn from their time in your class?
I hope they will learn that the practices of reading and writing aren’t just about academic success but are actually keys to understanding themselves and the world around them in more profound ways.
What is your favorite quote or saying? Why?
“Ours is not a caravan of despair. Even if you have broken your vow a hundred times, come again, come.” -Rumi.
I love this quote because it reminds me that every moment is a chance to do better, to be better.