Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > History Help Forum > Career Guidance
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Career Guidance Career Guidance - Discuss topics on history professions and career paths


View Poll Results: Should I Teach History at High School or College?
College 26 55.32%
High School 7 14.89%
Either is good, really 8 17.02%
Heck if I know. 6 12.77%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old March 21st, 2015, 01:40 PM   #1

EmperorTigerstar's Avatar
The Kaiser of Maps
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 6,165
Blog Entries: 4
Becoming a History Teacher vs a History Professor


I really want to teach history as my career. I'm going into college this fall and I'm debating between if I should teach at a high-school level or a college level as a professor. Can a few people (preferably Americans who have actually taught) tell me from their experience and opinions on what you think is better?
EmperorTigerstar is offline  
Remove Ads
Old March 22nd, 2015, 06:40 PM   #2

HackneyedScribe's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 4,340
Blog Entries: 1

Closest experience I had was a private tutor, not a teacher. But to me it seems like college students are more mature. High schoolers are less controllable, and spend more effort giving you a hard time rather than listening in class.
HackneyedScribe is online now  
Old March 22nd, 2015, 07:29 PM   #3

okamido's Avatar
knows what the bee knows
 
Joined: Jun 2009
From: land of Califia
Posts: 29,832
Blog Entries: 28

Quote:
Originally Posted by EmperorTigerstar View Post
I really want to teach history as my career. I'm going into college this fall and I'm debating between if I should teach at a high-school level or a college level as a professor. Can a few people (preferably Americans who have actually taught) tell me from their experience and opinions on what you think is better?
What is your patience level like?
okamido is offline  
Old March 22nd, 2015, 08:02 PM   #4

Wenge's Avatar
American
 
Joined: Apr 2011
From: The True Capital of China
Posts: 9,754

Unless you are a "Super" historian you are not going to jump into college as a professor. Professors who are historians have built reputations for themselves that make them valuable to their schools. Also, to become a full professor in college I would suspect a P.H.D. would be a minimum requirement.

I would suggest that while you are in undergraduate school you write, continually, about your preferred area of history. You should perfect your maps and make attempts at having a book published. I would stay as far away from fictionalized history as you can. That makes you a novelist not a candidate for a professorship in a college or university.

If you get bent toward college your first step will probably be as a graduate assistant teaching a survey of American history or Western Civilization. These types of courses will help you develop your teaching skills and lay the foundation for your reputation.

Young history professors are few and far between. I would suggest beginning in a Community College where a teacher is needed.

There is one hard truth about teaching that you need to be fully aware of. History teachers and English teachers are "a dime a dozen". I had similar ambitions as yours but the hard reality set in after my second year in school. In order to realize your goals for the future you must first find a way to get your foot in the door of education for your present. I had to move to China in order to get a job teaching history and my position is more of laying the groundwork for students to prepare them for the core courses they will be required to take at American colleges.

I wanted to teach either history or literature in a college after graduating but after realizing that I would be up against more experienced candidates for the few job openings I decided to focus on "Early Childhood Education".

At that time school systems were promoting the idea of men teaching in Elementary School so while continuing my history and literature classes I added the necessary education classes to my agenda.

I suspect it will take an extreme amount of hard work in order for you to be able to realize your ambitions and goals. I sincerely hope that you succeed; just be prepared for the bumps in the road that you will encounter along the way.

Be confident, work hard and do not give up. It is the strength of your dedication toward your intended goals that will pave the way for you.

Good Luck!
Wenge is offline  
Old March 23rd, 2015, 11:50 AM   #5

EmperorTigerstar's Avatar
The Kaiser of Maps
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 6,165
Blog Entries: 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by okamido View Post
What is your patience level like?
Relatively high.
EmperorTigerstar is offline  
Old March 23rd, 2015, 12:03 PM   #6

EmperorTigerstar's Avatar
The Kaiser of Maps
 
Joined: Jun 2013
From: USA
Posts: 6,165
Blog Entries: 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wenge View Post
1. Unless you are a "Super" historian you are not going to jump into college as a professor. Professors who are historians have built reputations for themselves that make them valuable to their schools. Also, to become a full professor in college I would suspect a P.H.D. would be a minimum requirement.

2. I would suggest that while you are in undergraduate school you write, continually, about your preferred area of history. You should perfect your maps and make attempts at having a book published. I would stay as far away from fictionalized history as you can. That makes you a novelist not a candidate for a professorship in a college or university.

3. If you get bent toward college your first step will probably be as a graduate assistant teaching a survey of American history or Western Civilization. These types of courses will help you develop your teaching skills and lay the foundation for your reputation.

4. Young history professors are few and far between. I would suggest beginning in a Community College where a teacher is needed.

5. There is one hard truth about teaching that you need to be fully aware of. History teachers and English teachers are "a dime a dozen". I had similar ambitions as yours but the hard reality set in after my second year in school. In order to realize your goals for the future you must first find a way to get your foot in the door of education for your present. I had to move to China in order to get a job teaching history and my position is more of laying the groundwork for students to prepare them for the core courses they will be required to take at American colleges.

6. I wanted to teach either history or literature in a college after graduating but after realizing that I would be up against more experienced candidates for the few job openings I decided to focus on "Early Childhood Education".

At that time school systems were promoting the idea of men teaching in Elementary School so while continuing my history and literature classes I added the necessary education classes to my agenda.

7. I suspect it will take an extreme amount of hard work in order for you to be able to realize your ambitions and goals. I sincerely hope that you succeed; just be prepared for the bumps in the road that you will encounter along the way.

Be confident, work hard and do not give up. It is the strength of your dedication toward your intended goals that will pave the way for you.

Good Luck!
1. I suspect this as well. While I don't mind teaching at my local college as opposed to a grand ivy league college, you're probably right. Hopefully I will get a PhD ASAP as I have a head start in college with most of my basic classes covered in high school through dual-credit.

2. I do plan to keep my map videos going and write something. I've wanted to make history books for sometime now and I hope to perhaps make one during college.

3. Thank you, I'll write that down.

4. Not a bad idea at all.

5. I am aware of this but I don't let it deter me. ^^ I'm willing to go far for a position and if I do high school I know I have a much better chance so I might simply teach at a high school for a few years as I advance towards a PhD.

6. Oh gosh I'd never do elementary school or middle school level. xD

7. Thank you very much Wenge. Your advice all over your post has been really helpful.
EmperorTigerstar is offline  
Old March 23rd, 2015, 12:32 PM   #7

OpanaPointer's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Dec 2010
From: Near St. Louis.
Posts: 11,643

I enjoyed being a teaching assistant in grad school. I would have looked for college work when I got my Pd.D., if things had gone differently. The thought of teaching barely awake kids the same stuff year after year drives me stark. But that's just me, YMMV.
OpanaPointer is offline  
Old March 23rd, 2015, 12:42 PM   #8

BenSt's Avatar
Amethyst Member
 
Joined: Aug 2013
From: Canada, originally Clwyd, N.Wales
Posts: 4,564

Wenge has it right. You won't be able to teach history at college or University unless you build your career up. That being said though, it depends what you want to do. if teaching is the major part of your interest, highschool is a solid job which won't require the same number of years in education and you can get fun with it each year. College level is where it becomes most interesting. University professors with masters or doctorates ARE historians, they generate information and write. It will also be at this level that you can propose thesis and study, and publish. if you want to be a historian and be considered a serious scholar, take the extra few years and go the University route. I know a couple of other younger members are considering this and I'll say to you what I said to Majasprat:

Do your research now. Check out University sites and contact professors already teaching and get their opinions. We also have some excellent historum members who are academics and are either working their way towards Tenure or have had previous experiances (Asherman, Kirialix, Eamonn come to mind). But, the danger with University these days is that more and more are heading towards small contracts and are not giving out Tenure as often. But, with a University professorship background, it opens other doors to working in museums, consulting work, and writing, etc,.
BenSt is offline  
Old March 23rd, 2015, 12:43 PM   #9

BenSt's Avatar
Amethyst Member
 
Joined: Aug 2013
From: Canada, originally Clwyd, N.Wales
Posts: 4,564

Quote:
Originally Posted by OpanaPointer View Post
I enjoyed being a teaching assistant in grad school. I would have looked for college work when I got my Pd.D., if things had gone differently. The thought of teaching barely awake kids the same stuff year after year drives me stark. But that's just me, YMMV.
It depends what he wants to get out of it, if it's the teaching aspect then Highschool is more hands on...but yeah, I agree, I'd find highschool oppressive to work as a historian.
BenSt is offline  
Old March 28th, 2015, 09:35 AM   #10
Academician
 
Joined: May 2013
From: Massachusetts
Posts: 94

Just to throw in my two cents, I received my BSE and worked teaching elementary school for the past three years. I am now working towards my M.A. in History along with a Certificate in Public History. What is nice about a background in education and also working on a graduate degree in a subject matter field is it can give you more options. I already have my initial teaching license for teaching K-8 general education, but with an M.A. in a subject matter field I can also teach History at the Middle/High School or college level. Most community colleges will consider highering you if you have an M.A. Most four-year universities will only consider highering you if you have the PhD.

One other thing to consider is Public History. I had never heard about the field until I began looking into which subject matter field I wanted to pursue my graduate degree in. It is basically professional training to work in libraries, archives, museums, digital humanities, etc. Once I am all done with my graduate degree I will most likely be pursuing that route. The only reason I mention this is because most people who initially express interest in teaching haven't had much classroom experience. I would strongly recommend substitute teaching at a local middle/high school and seeing it if it right for you. If you aren't in love with it, what is nice about doing something in Public History is that you can still work in the field of education but you do not need to be in a classroom and spending so much time working on managing the class.

The other upside to just doing the M.A. and doing something like that is you do not have to commit to five years in order to get your PhD. If you do want to get a PhD, you should do it. But make sure you check all your options first and try different things out. I would have never guessed that I love working in a library or a museum more than teaching students in a public school classroom, but by trying different things I discovered that out.

BTW, where are you going to school for undergrad?
HoraceHighwater is offline  
Reply

  Historum > History Help Forum > Career Guidance

Tags
professor, teacher



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Best teacher/educator in history lokariototal General History 14 February 12th, 2014 09:02 AM
How to become a history teacher Earl_of_Rochester History Teachers 2 March 22nd, 2012 12:34 AM
Becoming a History teacher abhorsen950 New Users 23 March 24th, 2010 08:34 AM
hi to all.... I am a history teacher.... johncalloway New Users 3 September 14th, 2009 10:35 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.