Helen Rooney ’11Ed
Falling in Love with Teaching
On the day Helen Rooney visited the Queens, NY, campus for the first time, she sensed that St. John’s was where she could turn her passion for teaching into a fulfilling career. “I felt this instant connection to the University,” she said. “That didn’t happen at any other school I visited.”
Ms. Rooney studied childhood education with a concentration in biology. After graduating, she began working with special needs students in Long Beach, NY, public schools. She was a teacher’s assistant, educating children who had autism, Down syndrome, and other learning difficulties. “Working with special needs students so early in my career assured me I was in the right field,” she said. “I fell in love with the job.”
Today, Ms. Rooney is the Head Teacher for a seventh-grade class at the Aaron School in midtown Manhattan. Aaron is a K‒12 special needs and learning disabilities school that combines traditional subjects with methods for overcoming social challenges. Ms. Rooney teaches science, English language arts, mathematics, and health and human development. She also handles individual report cards and communicates with stakeholders, from parents to the New York State Department of Education.
“St. John’s prepared me well and made me feel confident,” Ms. Rooney noted. “The professors in The School of Education showed me how to be the best teacher I could—because they’re the best.”