Why You Should Become a History Teacher

By Adam Maynes

Woman teaching students geography

Have you ever binge-watched a television series? Have you ever been hooked on a show so intensely that with cliffhanger you could not help yourself but to begin the next episode? Are you left wanting more moments after finishing that entire series?

Have you ever re-capped the events of a series, discussing the details of the story with other people engulfed in the story, or created more viewers by teasing enough of the plot so they also emotionally connect with the story?

When discussing the plots with others, have you ever recognized just how much fun you had? Imagine sharing stories, feeling somehow involved in the lives of those characters, achieving emotional kinship, even feeling as kindred spirits, and offering that connection to a group of people eager to absorb your words – and doing so on a professional level.

That is the life of a history teacher.

If you have ever shared or discussed the plot of a television series with others and not only enjoyed it, but succeeded in capturing the attention and imagination of the listeners, then becoming a history teacher might just be the most joyful and satisfying profession for you.

For some, the concept of memorizing history is daunting, and presenting it is that much more frightening. Yet, when watching a great television series, many of us have no problem sharing and discussing the plot of the lives of the characters who do not exist in reality and only truly lived in the imaginative minds of the story’s creators.

Consider the thrill found when unraveling the mystery of a character’s murder; the excitement when you discover the criminal’s plot before the protagonists; the level of intrigue felt when watching characters figure out how to confront an obstacle – often at the risk of life and death.

Now see yourself extrapolating that passion for the imaginary and bringing it into the mysteries of real life!

Do you love to take complex events and make them easily digestible? Take the events of the Cold War and break them down in a way that opens students’ eyes to the vast and unrelenting political intrigue that permeated throughout the era – and may even live on to this day.

Remember the enjoyment of following a character as they developed from being meek and mild to being a power broker who is assertive and strong? Discuss the stories of numerous figures from history who have experienced that same personal evolution.

Have you ever gawked at the heroism of men and women who have fought for a cause on a battlefield strewn with fallen comrades and enemies? Bring the fantasy of fictional battle to real-life by sharing the recorded personal experiences of soldiers who lived and died in real wars; making the black and white of battles long past flush with the colors of vivid reality, offering true personal accounts of bravery and fear.

Place yourself in a position in which you have the opportunity to share those stories with learners of all ages, feel the rush as your love of narrative is absorbed, for not only their personal enjoyment, but also their personal maturation.

As your friends may have done when you explained the plot of a show, watch learners’ eyes grow large and jaws drop as you explain the raucous and rowdy, kind and peaceful, outgoing and engaging lives of people who society has raised up as champions or whose stories are waiting to be brought back to life.

Now also consider this final thought: when a television show ends, so does the story. The credits roll, the music plays, and the screen goes dark. There is nothing next. Sure, you can watch it again, but what good does it do? No new information can be presented; no new facts can be un-covered; the story ends and the enjoyment fades.

As much as a show might want to leave a viewer guessing, eventually the realization sets in the mind of the viewer that what has been presented is all that will ever be known. Fortunately for you, this does not happen with history.

History lives on forever. The stories are endlessly being added to through new discoveries and interpretations, while also helping to make the events of the present seem that much more clear and relatable when eloquently coupled with stories of our past.

Do not forget too: television show writers often invent characters, events and complex storylines based on the lives that actual human beings have already lived. There are no greater stories than in history itself.

Share those stories. Share your fervency for them with others – especially with students who are desperately in need of a teacher who is truly passionate about the subject. Breathe life back into people and events that have long since passed.

Consider becoming a history teacher, and if you are a person who enjoys sharing stories from fantasy, that might be the very reason why you should.

If you are ready to take the next step in your academic career, consider Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Arts in History. This program prepares students for beginning careers like museum and archive curation, public service and education. To learn more about this and other programs offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.