Teacher Spotlight: Nathaniel Wolshuck

Presenting CSU Alum Nathaniel Wolshuck for the first 2013-2014 Teacher Spotlight!
Nathaniel Wolshuck
Nathaniel Wolshuck is a Social Studies teacher at Marion L. Steele High School in Amherst, Ohio. He teaches a variety of courses at Steele High School, including Advanced Placement European History, Advanced Placement Government and Politics: United States and Freshman World History. Wolshuck was born in Sandusky, Ohio to a dental assistant and an aquarist. He graduated from Edison High School in Milan, Ohio in 1999.  Wolshuck then completed his Bachelor of Science in Education at Bowling Green State University in 2003.  In 2007 he was accepted to CSU and offered an assistantship to complete his Master of Arts in History.  Wolshuck was subsequently invited to be a long term substitute for an AP teacher going on maternity leave Steele High School.  When she chose not to return, he took her position and writes “I have been loving my job ever since.”
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to be a teacher.  My high school Government/Economics teacher, Mr. Douglas Crooks, inspired me to pursue a teaching degree in Social Studies.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?  
The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing students’ excitement when engaging material they did not think they could understand or enjoy learning.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a teacher?
The two biggest challenges I face as a teacher are the apathetic attitudes of students who have previously been turned off to the subject about which I am so passionate and the educators who turn them off to it.
What are your favorite ways to incorporate primary sources and/or technology in your lessons?  
I utilize primary sources in my AP history classes every day.  We study and interpret art, textual sources, maps, music, architecture, relics of material culture, and anything else on which I can put my hands on for the benefit of my students.  I am also blessed to be able to team-teach my AP European History course with an amazing AP Literature and Composition teacher, Mrs. Renee Opel, with whom I work to integrate history and literature.  Through this integration and teamed approach, my students develop a deeper appreciation of the relationship between history and literature.
What is the most important thing you learned in your teacher education program?  
While I did not learn this in my teacher education program, I did learn it right away in my Master’s degree program at CSU and it has been integral to my career as an educator.  History is far more than the events in the past upon which we base our craft.  History is an argument, and teaching students history involves teaching them to make an argument, not teaching them rote memorization of the events upon which they need to base their arguments.
What advice would you give a student interested in becoming a Social Studies teacher?
Become a master of your content area.  Without a true depth of immersion in the subjects you hope to teach, you cannot expect to inspire students with the same awe you have for them.