Anita Falcon’s relationship with her students often reaches beyond the classroom

Published 5:38 am Friday, May 17, 2024

By Emily Burleigh

Anita Abshire Falcon, 47, wanted to teach in the same environment she was taught in. After 20 years at Immaculate Conception Catholic School, she is sure she has accomplished her mission.

Born and raised in Crowley, Falcon attended St. Michael Catholic School for much of her grade school education. During her Catholic education, she experienced a strong sense of community. She credits her motivation to become a teacher to the role models she had during her education.

“I had amazing Catholic elementary school teachers, encouraging high school coaches,” she explained. “My own parents instilled in me that educators shape the future.”

She eventually graduated from Crowley High School and moved to Lake Charles almost 30 years ago to attend McNeese State University. There, she earned a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and a master’s in educational technology.

She started her career at the Calcasieu Parish School Board, where she was employed for two years. She found herself still searching for a campus that was reminiscent of her upbringing. Then, she found ICCS.

“ICCS provided that community not only for me but for my children, as well. Both of my children graduated from ICCS and have the same sense of belonging because of their time at ICCS.”

She has been at ICCS for two decades now. For 16 of those years, she has been a science and social studies teacher for fourth- and fifth-graders. The subjects chose her, she said. She was called to educate children who are in foundational grades.

“There was a need in my school while I was teaching middle school science and I felt like I would best be able to serve and prepare students heading into middle school science.”

Fourth and fifth grade are critical, transitional years. Since she teaches her students for two consecutive years, Falcon is a consistent face that tethers students during these years. So much so that her relationship with her students often reaches beyond the classroom.

“I was able to build strong relationships with them and their families, often teaching siblings as well!” she said. “I was also able to be with my children for all of their Masses, programs and special events on campus!”

The fact that Falcon gets to teach the “fun stuff” doesn’t hurt. This is her favorite part of the job, she said. As a science and social studies teacher, the content is not only engaging, but also hands-on and applicable in the real world.

The inviting and energetic environment of her classroom supports the curriculum she teaches.

“In my classroom, we ask questions, take chances and ultimately, have fun!”

The act of making learning fun is at the center of Falcon’s teaching philosophy. She always strives to make her lessons so enjoyable that students do not realize they are working hard and learning while having a good time.

While teaching, Falcon simultaneously encourages her students to engage in independent and explorative education habits.

“I offer students a chance to learn at their own pace. I meet them where they are and love seeing them grow and blossom into middle school and beyond!”

Preparing her students for middle school is her ultimate goal, she said. She knows that beyond middle school, her former students will become leaders in the community.

“I love having them return to me and tell me about their middle school experiences. I look forward to seeing my students doing great things and making good decisions for the betterment of their communities.”

The way Falcon supports her students in the classroom, she is supported at home by her husband, Michael.

“He is so supportive and encouraging. … Without his support teaching would not be possible.”