Born and raised in Granite Falls, NC, Nathan Minton ('20) attended Caldwell Early College High School. After graduation, Nathan returned to Caldwell County Schools where he now teaches middle grades social studies at William Lenoir Middle School.
As a young child, his family would often travel to Boone for Sunday afternoon visits. Once he considered colleges, Appalachian State University seemed like a logical choice. Initially, he thought about a business career with the goal of owning and operating his own business. In high school, however, Nathan discovered he wanted to do much more. At Caldwell Early College, he discovered a love for teaching and helping others. Nathan wants to help make an impact on young students by showing them that they are more than just a number on a page or a grade on a test.
At App State, Nathan was involved in the Appalachian Community of Education Scholars (ACES), where he participated in various service events, learned how to become a better teacher through professional development seminars, and helped new students find their love for education. Along with ACES, he was also involved in Alpha Gamma Omega Fraternity. Outside of school, he loves spending time with family and friends, visiting historic landmarks, and finding unique places along the way.
Why did you decide to major in History/Social Studies Education?
Nathan Minton: When researching careers in High School, I was influenced by many outside forces that told me that I needed a career that would focus on a paycheck and prestige, but I knew I wanted something much more than just money and popularity, I wanted to make a difference. The people around me who made a difference in my life were educators. The teachers at my high school were compassionate and caring for each student who walked through their doors. My sophomore history teacher, Carrie Curtis, is the reason why I chose to want to teach history/social studies. In Mrs. Curtis’ class, she made learning fun, interactive, and real. We learned how history applied to our current life and how we can make a difference in the world around us. I want to bring the same thing to my future students and show them the importance of how history influences our lives today.
How has the History Dept., and the History Education program, helped prepare you for a career in history/social studies education?
NM: The History Education program at Appalachian State University has prepared me for the realities of teaching. I have learned and continue to learn everything from how to make a lesson plan to how to use different resources to help students with different learning styles. This program gives their students not only the materials and resources to be a teacher and a historian, but the resources to be an innovator in the classroom. Through taking a variety of classes in history, the History Department at Appalachian State University has made me knowledgeable in my subject and has prepared me for the classroom.
Why do history and social studies matter?
NM: History and social studies matter because our pasts are what light our futures. The future of today lies in the hands of the historians, people, and students who interpret the past. Through history and social studies we are able to learn ways to impact and influence the lives of those who will come after us. Through teaching history/social studies, I will give my students the tools and resources to make a positive impact on the world around them.
What would you tell a high school student thinking about attending App State and/or majoring in History (Education)?
NM: If a high school student was considering majoring in History Education, I would tell them that this major will help you in so many ways than you can imagine. Through History Education, you learn how to work with others, how to analyze and write through critical thinking, and how to apply learning and thinking to the real world. By coming to Appalachian State University and majoring in History Education, you are able to set a foundation of learning and teaching that will propel yourself in any future career or endeavor that you reach for.
What do you see as a major issue facing incoming teachers in NC, and what would be a solution?
NM: One major issue that I see incoming teachers in North Carolina facing is the lack of encouragement and support. Going into the field of education is not one that is seen as a career of success for those who are in other fields. When teachers tell others that they work in education, many times they hear responses like “I’m sorry,” or “You won’t make any money.” These comments, although meant for support can be a discouragement. Future and current teachers need support and praise. We need to encourage future teachers to go into the field and current teachers to remain in the field. Teaching is one of the most important careers in this world, and we need to praise people who want to make a difference in young students.