As another school year begins, a number of recent Goshen College graduates are finding themselves in their first year of teaching at various schools in and around Goshen.

Becky Snider and Brody Thomas are just two of nearly ten first-year, Goshen-grad teachers that chose to stick close to Goshen.

For both Snider and Thomas, the reason was simple: the Goshen community. During their time as students at GC they became connected with a community that offered them support. After graduation, they were not ready to give that up by moving away. And for first-year teachers, to already know and feel comfortable within a community is a huge asset. Ice cream from The Chief doesn’t hurt, either.

Snider is the band and choir teacher for Jimtown Junior High School, while Thomas is Bethany Christian Schools’ Choral Music Director for grades 4-12.

Snider felt that her time at GC prepared her well for her job, yet left room for continued learning. With three weeks at Jimtown under her belt, Snider is finding that some aspects are what she was expecting, while others pose a challenge. For student teaching, she had been placed in a band classroom setting, which gave her a feel for that situation.

With choral directing being a new position for her, she says that the “choir part keeps throwing me for a loop.”

However, by being heavily involved in musical events at Goshen College in addition to her music education classes, Snider has the academic side of her new job well figured out. But teaching junior high students changes that idealistic view.

“I really appreciated how much we got to think about educational classes at the college, but I guess I’m realizing that there’s just a lot left to learn from being out there doing it every day,” Snider said.

Thomas is finding a similar theme during his fourth week teaching at Bethany. His many students make for a challenge that he now has to figure out completely on his own.

“Having many students in a grade, [and] choosing music for the changing middle school voice is very difficult,” Thomas said. However, it all feels worth it when he can “hear a piece of music finally come together after hours of rehearsal.”

Looking back on his time of student teaching, Thomas was extremely grateful.

“I am surprised by just how valuable my time at GC was,” Thomas said. “I am constantly referring to past education class notes and projects to get ideas when planning, and the feedback my professors gave during student teaching has proven invaluable.”

According to Kathy Meyer Reimer, a professor of education, this has been a great hiring year for GC graduates wanting to stay in the Goshen area. From Orchard View in Middlebury and Jimtown in Elkhart, to Bethany Christian and Goshen High right here in Goshen, GC graduates are sticking with the community that stuck by them.