Educator Shannon Rooney Shares Her Passion for Literature with Her Students
Shannon Rooney comes from a family of teachers and always knew she wanted to be an educator. The English teacher and Speech & Debate coach at Bishop Montgomery High School in Torrance, California earned a B.A. in English from Pepperdine University, a Master of Philosophy in Education from University of Cambridge, and a M.A. in Teaching from University of Southern California prior to working as both a public and private school teacher for nearly a decade. Rooney currently teaches English 2 Honors and British Literature Honors in LA’s South Bay region.
“I just really love engaging with my students and hearing their take on how they interpret books,” said Rooney, who has taught at Bishop Montgomery since 2015, and is a self-described “old school” teacher who asks students to write by hand in class. “Everyone brings their own perspectives and experiences, so it’s great to hear how students might have read something differently.” Rooney said her end goal is to get students to love reading, especially since technology has led people to read less in recent years. “You can find escapes into other worlds like film but literature has been around the longest,” she said.
An out-of-the-box thinker, Rooney recently welcomed FIDM Representative Cecile Fayen to her English classes to share the Graphic Design presentation, “Entertainment Marketing in the Digital Age,” which highlights the importance of key art in entertainment marketing. She then asked her students to create movie posters based on short stories such as Doris Lessing’s “Through the Tunnel” and W.W. Jacobs’ “The Monkey Paw,” which they had read for class. “I wanted to try and incorporate something a little bit more creative because I know my students are creative and they know how to use Photoshop and how to edit photos,” said Rooney.
In addition to being known around campus for being passionate about books and reading, Rooney is also a fashion enthusiast who has been voted “Best Dressed Teacher” in the school yearbook. She previously served as a FIDM Fashion Club Advisor, a role she plans to hold again in the future, and recently visited the FIDM campus to attend the House of Gucci Educator’s Day event. “I never really knew how much FIDM offered — it’s amazing what degrees students can walk away with,” she said.
“As an educator, FIDM has been really great in providing resources. Teachers have a lot on our plates and we’d love to collaborate more and don’t always get to,” Rooney added. “Hopefully other schools know that resources are available to them. I definitely hope that our school gets to work more with FIDM and take advantage of those opportunities.”