Teacher Feature: Mrs. Anne Loudon

Teacher Feature: Mrs. Anne Loudon

For today’s teacher feature, we’re interviewing the English department’s resident crazy cat lady, Mrs. Anne Loudon. Since 1997, Mrs. Loudon has taught English at Shaler Area High school while also directing the fall play after school.

Q: Best concert that you’ve been to?

A: Definitely the Hella mega concert in Two and One seconds. It was post-COVID, I think in 2021, and the show was Weezer, Green Day, and Fall Out Boy. That was a good time, and it rained on cue when Weezer sang Africa, so that was really exciting.

Q: What is your favorite student slang and could you use it in a sentence?

A: . I like when students say that I have ‘good drip’. I think that means nice fashion choices. I also think it’s interesting how the word ‘slay’ can be used as a noun, verb, and adjective. 

Q: Most irresponsible purchase that you’ve ever made?

Picture of 1997 Plymouth Neon

A: I don’t make irresponsible purchases

Q: What is the first car you bought?

A: I was 23 years old and I waited until I had my job here, so I walked everywhere until I bought my car. It was an emerald green 1997 Plymouth Neon, and we drove it until it literally died on Route 8. 

Q: Most rewarding topic to teach in your class?

A: Well, I love teaching the themes of redemption and forgiveness. You can see that in Crime and Punishment, All the King’s Men, and Fences. So I like that about all three of them.

Q: If you have a free night to yourself with no responsibility, what are you doing? 

A: Watching a documentary–preferably about cults–eating ice cream, and snuggling with my cats.

Q: What’s an album that changed your life after you listened to it for the first time?

A: Well, I really like Folklore by Taylor Swift. She was always popular with my kids and I thought she was ok. Nothing special.  But then I heard Folklore and I really dug its poetic lyrics. It’s my kind of music, so it definitely turned me into a Swifty.

Q: What would your last meal be?

A: If I knew it was going to be my last meal, then I’d be too nervous to eat anything.

Q: Which author’s works do you most enjoy reading?  (poems/novels)

A: Well, I’ve always enjoyed poetry by Robert Frost. Back in college when it snowed, I liked to read and memorize his poetry. It was a fun exercise in memory and language.

Q: For the Oracle reading audience, what has been your book of the year thus far?

A: I read A Tale of Two Cities this summer, and it’s still with me. I had never read it before and thought it’s about time I read it, and it’s just, again, dealing with themes of redemption and sacrifice. It was a beautiful story and I plan to make it an annual summer tradition to go back and read it.

Q:  What’s the thought process behind naming your kid (Flannery) after a poet?

A: I wanted to give them names that would be unique, but not bizarre. As a teacher, you’ve heard all the names, and so you don’t want your kid’s name to be ruined by another.

Q: Over the years, what play have you directed that you look back on most fondly?

A: I’m really proud of Little Women because we pulled that off during COVID and it’s something we all needed. It brought us into the school and it gave us something to do because, you know, even at that time, we were still getting shut down for weeks. Even though we had to perform in masks, and we didn’t have a live audience it was still a triumph. It probably wasn’t one of our best shows because of all the restraints, but it’s what we needed.

Q: What grammar mistake do you see your students consistently make that bugs you the most?

A: The word ‘its’. When writing ‘its’, they throw an apostrophe in there when it’s not needed.

From left to right: Hareton (orange), Dante (black), Elizabeth (gray), and Link (gray and white tabby). Penelope is not pictured.

Q: Cat Talk: What’s it like being a cat mom?

A: I love it. I love being with my cats. It’s very expensive sometimes because they’re not covered under my health insurance, but my kids are older and cats fill that void that I have in my heart to nurture and to hold something and to feed it and to have it love me back. I already am a crazy cat lady and there’s no shame in that. I have three cats, but when my daughters are home, we have two more cats to make it five.

Q: Are there any popular books/plays that you think are overrated?

A: Yes. Anything by Nicholas Sparks. Any book he’s written, any book of his that’s been adapted to a film, or any film that’s been adapted to a future musical. GROSS.


Q: If you could live somewhere that’s not in Pittsburgh, where would you live? 

A: Well, when I visit my daughter in Kent, I love that town. I also love visiting my sister in Winston-Salem because it’s warm, but it doesn’t feel like the south because there’s so many northern transplants. Winston-Salem gives me northern vibes with southern temperatures, it’s ideal.

Q: How have students changed from when you began teaching to now? 

A: The culture is so much better here than it was back in the late nineties. There was so much self-deprecation; kids were afraid to admit they were from a certain part of the Shaler and people felt like going to Shaler was so ‘ghetto’. That was the kid slang at the time, and now it seems like we’re proud to be the Titans and we’re not ashamed of that anymore. The kids are just nicer and more tolerant, and while there’s still issues, it’s just such a different culture from the nineties. It’s so much more positive.

Who of your fellow teachers do you get along with best?

A: Mrs. Aluise, because we have worked together directing the play for so many years. She was one of my former students too, so we just get along really well.

Q: What’s the worst attempt at cheating that you’ve seen? 

A: Way back when, kids were allowed to wear hats, and some tried putting the answers above the rim. It was laughably obvious; I could totally see the paper sticking out of the hat.


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