Nathan Widener, Instructor of History at Pellissippi State, found his love for teaching early in life, working in a music store, giving private guitar lessons. He knew he was destined for teaching from the first lesson. The student was probably too young to be taking guitar lessons, and after ten minutes of explanation of where things were and how to move their hand on the guitar neck, the student took the guitar off and ran away screaming.
During his undergraduate career, Nathan went to Roane State Community College. He knew that he wanted to teach, but how and what was the next big question. There was a deep love of music and history, but how could these combine into one job? After a fateful meeting with Melanie McCammon, currently working here at Pellissippi State, he found that his path forward was at Maryville College. Each class became a portal to the past, each lesson became a unique skill on his instrument that he used while teaching. After graduating in 2010, the question of teaching returned, where to teach and how? During his time at Maryville College, he earned a secondary education degree, believing he was destined for high school history courses. Finding no secondary teaching jobs, he turned to work as a historical records keeper for a company in Oak Ridge. It was here that he learned the many trials and tribulations of sitting at computers, the joys of antique computer technology, and the desire to do something more with his life.
While at Appalachian State, Nathan worked with amazing colleagues who demonstrated how research helps to guide teaching. Working with such great faculty as Dr. Rene Harder Horst, Dr. Jari Eloranta, Ralph Lentz, and Tamara Parnell, Nathan found that his teaching style was much more suited to higher education. After graduating in 2014, the next struggle was finding employment. But don’t cry for Nathan, Argentina, the first semester after graduating he found multiple opportunities to teach. He was employed by two different colleges and a university in North Carolina, driving close to 200 miles one way to teach every day in person. The eight classes were intense, but they demonstrated how important online instruction was and became the backbone of his teaching pedagogy for online classes. From the fall of 2014 to 2019, Nathan worked at many different colleges and universities throughout the South. It was these experiences that made Nathan a stronger teacher. His goal of reaching every student and showing them their importance and their role in the world has been the cornerstone of his approach to the classroom.
Nathan started working at Pellissippi State Community College in 2019 as an instructor of history. This is a position that he loves, and being able to work in a community where he grew up, demonstrating to students that they have a role in their future and shaping our society, is a driving force of Nathan’s energies. He teaches multiple courses in the History Philosophy Department, including Early and Modern World History.