Amy Banner, ’13: Fifth Grade Teacher

Amy Banner, 13, is a fifth grade teacher at Sacred Heart Grade School in Camden, New Jersey. While at St. Joe’s, she worked as a writing tutor in the SJU Writing Center.

What did you learn as an English major that prepared you for your career as a teacher?

Being an English major allowed me to master the skill of self-teaching. If there was an idea or concept I didn’t know or understand, I was prepared to read, research and learn all I could before relying on someone else to teach me. I think that is an extremely important skill as a young alumna and twentysomething. It is also a skill I promote in my classroom. If the students are curious about something, they have the resources and ability to read and learn more about it. I also worked in the Writing Center while at Saint Joseph’s University. Not only did this expose me to so many other content areas, but it prepared me to work with other tutors and also students of various writing levels and experiences. I think my work in the Writing Center most prepared me for my teaching career.

What has been your most memorable experience at SJU?

While at St. Joe’s I was really involved with Campus Ministry. My favorite experiences from that were leading an upperclassmen retreat and visiting the beautiful country of Ecuador twice with Summer Immersion.

What advice would you give to a freshman who is still undecided or thinking about majoring in English?

With an English major, you can’t go wrong. I went through a period of time searching for jobs outside the education world, and so many posts required applicants to have a solid foundation of reading, research and writing skills. It is also, simply put, an enjoyable major. I formed close bonds with many of my professors, enjoyed small, round-table-style classes and truly looked forward to attending.

What advice would you give to a rising or graduating senior?

My advice would be to enjoy every moment, to try new things and not to stress about the future. That first year out the door is a tough one, but it is the year in which I learned the most about myself. I changed jobs, moved and endured many challenges. Looking back, I think I handled myself well in the face of all of that and in part, that was due to the preparation I received, academically, socially and spiritually,  at St. Joe’s.


Sacred Heart Grade School welcomes volunteers. Please call (856) 963-1341 or visit the schoo’s website if you are interested in helping students at the school.

—Kiana Porter, ’19