Remarks by Anna Baldwin, 2014 Montana Teacher of the Year

 Anna Baldwin speaks at the Montana Teacher of the Year Celebration.

Teacher of the Year Celebration, Oct. 17, 2013, Bozeman

Good evening. It is an honor to be here tonight.

I’m an English teacher, right? So I am supposed to think in pithy quotes and metaphors all the time, and get excited about streets named after British authors.

In composing this speech I almost hurt myself coming up with something clever, stomping around as I was in these new heels. I’m not used to wearing heels. This is the first pair I’ve ever bought.

In fact everyone was asking, “Which Danskos will you wear to the event?” Because everyone who knows me, knows I have a thing for Danskos. You know, those big, heavy clog-looking shoes. I mean, there might even be an intervention planned because of my Dansko hobby.

But Danskos are the perfect shoes for teachers. They are broad at the base – like our knowledge … and they provide great support, like we do for students. They come in a variety of colors and styles, just as teachers do.

Personally, I have a Dansko for every hat I wear as a teacher. On the days when I’m straightforward, teaching grammar or the history of the reservation, I like my old brown classic style, worn but solid. Dependable. If I’m writing a letter to the editor to decry some mistreatment of my teacher people, I might wear the shiny red Mary Janes to help spice up my vocabulary. If today’s the day I’m taking my students on an adventure like a field trip or reading Sherman Alexie out loud, I might wear the patent leather red and black leopard print ones. Just because they’re sassy.

Tonight, I’m not wearing Danskos. I am trying on something new. It feels a little strange, and I’m definitely taller, which makes me feel

Anna Baldwin at the celebration dinner with her parents, her children, and her husband.
better standing next to Denise Juneau.

But I think I’m going to like this new role as ambassador for teachers. There are so many things I want to tell people about the absolutely fabulous teachers we have in our state. Just examples from my own district:
• I want to share the inspiration I feel when I watch Mr. Stockton teaching physics,
• and the passion I hear when Mr. Orr talks about Indian Studies with his young ones.
• I want all students to love music the way Mr. Ensley teaches them to love it.
My work with students of all ages: high school, college, and student teachers, will be worthwhile when they become teachers who share themselves and inspire others.

I’d like to close by recognizing my friends and family and community who came tonight. First, my family, without whom I would not be standing here. (They’re also responsible for at least a third of my Dansko collection.) My parents Ellie and Mike Malloch, my husband Jerry Baldwin, and my children, Abby and Austin Baldwin.

If you were ever or will be a student of mine, please stand. If you have been affiliated with the Arlee School District as a parent or educator of any kind, please stand. If you are my boss at the Montana Digital Academy, please stand. I invite all of you to join me in thanking these wonderful people for being supportive and dedicated every single day.

As my Salish community says, lemlmtš pesiya: thank you to everyone.

It has been a pleasure to be here tonight, and I really am looking forward to the coming year. But I am definitely going to need a new pair of Danskos to get through it!