What Does A History Teacher Do?

"Call me weird but I just love history. I love talking about history and reading all about breakthrough historical discoveries. I’m sure that I want to teach history as soon as I get out of college so I want to learn more about it. What does a history teacher do?"

asked by Simon K. from Lexington, Kentucky

From middle school to high school to college, there are history teachers who teach students American history, world history, Asian history and others. No matter what time periods they teach, history teachers aim to make their students more aware of the events that have shaped our world and the places we move in and give them a better understanding and appreciation of it. They also make it a point to help them glean important lessons from these events.

History teachers prepare lesson plans and make use of available resources to impart lessons to students. They use books, materials and interactive media in their presentations. In order to make the teaching-learning environment engaging, they stimulate the students’ minds with fun and thought-provoking lectures and discussions. In postsecondary levels, professors endeavor to make students see the connection between the past and the present and encourage them to apply their knowledge of history to help avoid or solve present issues. In the college level, history professors may also prepare a syllabus on the subject and recommend reading materials for their students.

To gauge if students have learned the topics covered, history teachers give tests and other assignments. In the higher levels, professors may even require students to do term papers or other written research work on a specific topic. They may assign research individually or in groups and ask them to present their reports in class.

History teachers also make the parents of their middle school or high school students know their child’s academic performance and behavior in the classroom. While the school schedules regular parent-teacher conferences where teachers can update parents and guardians on the performance of students for a particular period, they are also alert to persistent poor performance and behavioral issues of their students and notify guardians immediately about it.

In college, history professors set office hours where their students can consult with them any time they have a problem. The students may also ask their professors about where to do their research and how to go about a task assigned to them.

History teachers also keep their knowledge updated and conduct their own studies and research work. They usually have these published in professional publications and will also attend conferences to disseminate their findings. Conducting research work is important for teachers to get themselves updated on the recent historical trends and events and may even be a requirement in schools for them to earn tenure.

Aside from this, history teachers are also required to attend departmental meetings to discuss upcoming school activities or plan revisions to the curriculum. If there are events in the school where their participation is needed, history teachers are also expected to participate and do their share of the work.

Career Spotlight: History Teacher

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