Meet the Teachers: Catharine Baldwin

Meet Ms. Baldwin!

Drama 5, Drama 6, History 6, Reading/Advisory 6, Science 6, 6th Grade Co-Coordinator

Where did you grow up? What was it like to grow up there? Where did you go to school and what was that like? Did it have an impact on your choice of career?

I was born in Dallas, Texas on a rare snowy day, at the height of the Cold War and before integration. Time was slower then. I remember long summers with all the time in the world to create all kinds of games and make believe. In the backyard we had a trampoline and a rope swing that became the set for any fantasy we wanted. I could be Peter Pan or Ilya Kuryakin or George Harrison. Instead of fire drills and active shooter drills, we had tornado drills and nuclear attack drills. My grandmother wanted to build a bomb shelter in the back yard, but my dad talked her into building a lake house instead. We had litters of beagle puppies. My favorite book was Big Red and my favorite movie was The Sound of Music. I went to public school until integration, when my parents moved me to a private school out of fear of violence. I was inspired there, but I felt constricted by the rigid rules of behavior, not based on kindness and respect, but on fitting into conventional norms.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your work — not so much the goals that are in your job description, but the goals you hold personally?

In every aspect of my life—in theater, in the classroom, in ordinary conversations—I am most effective when my goal is to open people’s eyes and hearts by allowing them to open mine. I want to always be learning. I love history and astronomy and theater because there will always be so much more I want to learn. And I love working with kids. I love their energy and fearlessness. I love that they have no idea that they are attempting the impossible in producing a play, achieving world peace, understanding the cosmos, facing a complex future I cannot conceive of.

Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.

Tony Vintcent was a high school teacher who ran Harlequin Players, a summer stock theater company. My life is full of things that he inspired. He gave me such a love of beautiful language—I studied French to read Giradoux, Russian to read Chekhov, and German to read Brecht. I think what I loved most about Harlequins was the community—a motley crew of passionate mavericks and misfits, all giving our utmost to fashion one beautiful event that lit a spark in each one of us, burning to explore and blend new aspects of our own creativity. I still write to Tony and I tell my kids about Harlequins. I tell them they must learn everything they can right now about making masks, building sets, choreography, puppetry, costuming, lighting, becoming an ensemble, because I won’t always be around, and someone has to carry the torch.

2017-12-01T16:49:58+00:00 December 1st, 2017|
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