Aaron Snyder

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Though many effective teachers come to the field from other disciplines, it is what they do once they have entered the world of education that matters most.
After graduating with a degree in Classics, newly-elected Holliston Federation of Teachers President Aaron Snyder realized that his avocation may not lead to a vocation, and so began to explore other passions to find his path.
"I have always loved working with children" Snyder maintains, "and I have two strong philosophies when it comes to education.The first is to try and make even the smallest of difference to every child that walks into my classroom. Secondly, these children are our future. I want to prepare them for the world around them."
While spending time with his siblings' children, Snyder began to reconnect with his desire to work with other people's children. After convincing his parents to let him move from Ottowa, Canada to the Boston area, he entered a post-baccalaureate program for education and began his career.
"The opportunities I had to work with children only confirmed that teaching was where I was meant to be," Snyder recalls, noting that he was eventually hired by the school where he had performed his practicum.
Having taught since 2001, Snyder sights many of his own teachers as the main inspirations in his life. Among them are a fifth grade teacher who, Snyder says, "had a way of making learning someone that was meaningful." He also credits his student teaching mentor with encouraging a "love and dedication to every aspect of teaching" and for inspiring him to arrive early and stay late.
"She was meticulous in her organization and attention to detail both that have rubbed off on me," he suggests, noting his dedication to classroom organization. "Without organization there is chaos [and] I don't do chaos!"
When asked how and why he became involved in Union life, Snyder replies that he wanted to educate others about world of education.
"It is amazing how many people do not know what goes on in education,” he observes, “and especially in the trenches of the classroom."
Admitting that he knew little of unions when he entered the teaching field, Snyder says he was pushed into union life by his desires to make a difference and to help others.
"I wanted to understand our contract," he explains when asked about his early career as a building representative, "and help answer questions."
As more colleagues began to seek his advice, Snyder became more encouraged and engaged in AFT MA affairs.
"I was asked to be a member of our contract negotiations team," he recalls."This was a chance to use my voice and represent the needs of our members"
Though negotiations are not easy, Snyder says they are informative and educational. "I have learned [that] if you are able to please 80% of the people then you've done your job well," he suggests. "I have been happy with how hard we have all worked to best represent our members."
Snyder has already helped see two contracts through.
"Understanding how the other side thinks emphasizes how important the work that you do is for all your members," he observes. "So much happens in the background and others do not get a chance to see it. It has been quite eye opening as to how and what the union does for others."
In addition to his other roles, Snyder has also served on the committee for teacher evaluation in our district.
"As I look at what is ahead for me in the next two years, I cannot help but know that I have great support around me," Snyder says, thanking colleagues and fellow local leaders like Mary Beth Numbers, Matt McGuinness and Cathy Simpson for opening his eyes to "just how invaluable the union can be to teachers."
While the burden of leadership can be heavy, especially in today's world where so many public educators are under such enormous pressures to perform and produce, Snyder says that he is dedicated to making a difference and to getting "important messages out to our members."
As he looks forward to a possible administrative role, Snyder remains fully focused on his latest role. "First and foremost as President I want to ensure that all of our members are treated with respect," he assures. "I want to hear their voices and make sure that they're not ignored. I hope to be able to motivate others to take roles in our union, and look at leadership perhaps in the future."
As he continues to become more engaged and to engage more colleagues in union life, Snyder is ever more prepared to face what challenges may come and also to encourage even the smallest triumphs.
"I will celebrate our successes, I will learn from our challenges," he pledges, "and I will work to ensure that it's the students who come first."