Henrico’s Top Teachers – Jonathan Gosney

Jonathan Gosney did not begin his career as a teacher, but it seems likely that the desire may have been quietly simmering inside him, all along.

Following his graduation from college, he initially went into the IT industry and worked first as a quality assurance analyst and then as a programming analyst for a local software company. After three or four years, he was ready for a change to something “more personally rewarding,” he said.

As a student at Varina High School, where he now teaches, he had a number of teachers who ultimately influenced his decision to turn to teaching.

“I saw the enthusiasm that they brought every day,” he said, “which showed me that they really enjoyed their work, and it was a rewarding profession.”

Having completed a solid portion of his education coursework as he earned his bachelor’s degree in history, he decided to go back and finish it – and become an exceptional education teacher.

Today, the “personally rewarding” moments he sought when he switched careers are a daily occurrence – even if they are intermingled with the challenges of working with special needs youngsters. The challenges are part of what make the job enjoyable, Gosney insisted, because his days are never the same.

He noted that one of the most significant challenges in his classroom is “just helping students with all that life brings in today’s world. Students today have so much more to deal with than when I was a student.”

Because he is with his students for much of the day, they depend on Gosney and turn to him if they are struggling at school or at home – and he is grateful to be able to provide that dependability.

“Some students,” he said, “need that stable figure in their life who they can count on to be there every day.”

He also enjoys the feedback from students and parents who express appreciation for his teaching efforts, or for his help setting them up with jobs or training programs.

“One of the best things about my job,” he said, “is having students come back to visit and being so excited to tell you how well they are doing.”

A few years ago, he recalled, one of his students completed the ProjectSEARCH internship program at St. Mary’s Hospital, and was immediately offered a job at the hospital.

“For this student’s mother, this was a very big relief that he was able to find work so quickly,” he said. “To have someone express genuine gratitude to you for what you do for their child is priceless. It’s these moments that make the job worth it every day.”

Just a few weeks ago, Gosney enjoyed another seemingly simple reward that he will always treasure.

His class – one of four that participates in an area-wide “All-Star” basketball league league for students with disabilities – played its final game against Highland Springs. Although the game took place following a particularly challenging week of school, Gosney says that the gym was packed, the band played, and excitement was high.

“The students supported our players like I had never seen before,” he remarked. “It was just totally awesome to see.”

Although he often assists during games to make sure that players get a chance to take and make shots, Gosney recalls that at game’s end he simply wanted to stand and watch from the half-court line.

“The players were feeling the energy and support of their classmates in the gym,” he said. “It was kind of neat to stand back and just watch our players soak it all up.

“It is definitely a moment that I will never forget!”
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Henrico Business Bulletin Board

June 2017

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Lavender Fields Herb Farm, 11300 Winfrey Rd. in Glen Allen, will offer the class “Lavender Wand” at 10 a.m. June 9-10. Use fresh lavender from the field to make a lavender wand. As your wand dries, you will continue to enjoy its beautiful look and smell. The class is approximately one hour and is designed for adults. Cost is $20. For details, call 262-7167 or visit http://www.lavenderfieldsfarm.com. Full text

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Henrico's Top Teachers

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