The Mayfair Retirees: Closing a Chapter, Opening a New One Pt. 4
Mr. Jon Falk has worked at Mayfair for 32 years, since 1989. During that time he has taught chemistry, AP chemistry, physical science, and environmental science. Additionally, he has also been the science department’s instructional leader, the coordinator for paper recycling, the advisor for Environmental Science Club, a Faculty Club member, and representative for the Bellflower’s Teachers Association.
Although he doesn’t have a single favorite memory at Mayfair, Falk mentions that in general it was a very rewarding feeling to hear that his teaching has influenced his former students in a positive way. Some additional memorable experiences include the yearbook being dedicated to him in 2012, and being named the Homecoming Grand Marshal in 2106.
When asked what he will miss the most about his time at Mayfair, he said that he will miss seeing his colleagues on a daily basis as well as the energy and enthusiasm that high school students bring. Falk also pointed out that he will miss the fun and creativity of working with students on music projects related to Faculty Follies, which is now known as Mayfair’s Got Talent. He adds that he is still working on one more of those.
During his freetime, Falk enjoys reading, biking, taking nature walks, genealogy, and traveling. After retiring, Falk’s plans include traveling more (once restrictions are lifted) and dedicating more of his time to family history as well as genealogy. Working at Mayfair has impacted Falk in many ways. He comments that the background stories of his students are inspiring and that working at Mayfair has given him the confidence to become a parent.
Falk mentions that he hopes that Mayfair continues to become a kinder, more welcoming place for everyone. He goes on to quote Greek philosopher Aristotle by saying “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” Falk says that he sees education as letting students know that they’re important and that they matter, not about the facts or calculations.
When it comes to new teachers, Falk advises to get a Masters Degree early on in their teaching career. He also recommends saving for retirement and getting to know students one-on-one, mentioning that students need to know that an adult cares about them. As for students, Falk gives the advice of learning as much as you can from every class that you take.
The pandemic affected Falk due to the fact that he missed out on a lot of family visits as well as the opportunity to interact with people in general. On the other side of things, Falk says that he got to stay safe, sleep in a little more, and teach from the comfort of his home. He adapted to the changes that the pandemic has brought by gaining familiarity with both Google Classroom and Google Meet.
Closing his chapter at Mayfair, the people who really influenced Falk’s time while on campus were Mike Savee, who Falk describes as a beloved math teacher and union activist. Terry Beerman, who was a biology teacher, also happened to take Falk under his wing.
Falk lives by the motto “Make the world a better place.” He reveals that this motto has helped impact his choice of careers, his political actions outside of work, as well as his decision to adopt a kid. He mentions that he hopes this motto has impacted the lives of others even if it’s in the smallest way.