Career Research Paper: Teaching History in High School
When choosing a career, it is essential to think of one’s own skills and preferences. As for me, it is quite easy to pick a career, as I have always been fascinated with History. Of course, this is my favorite discipline and I can add that I have gone far beyond the curriculum. Clearly, there are still gaps to fill in and I believe I will learn more during my study at college. However, I also understand that teaching History is not about knowing some dates, names and facts. An effective teacher of History should have the necessary knowledge and skills to use the right methodology and to address major issues existing in the field. It is important to identify these issues to be ready to pay specific attention to them when studying at college.
First of all, it is important to remember that the major goal of teaching is not to make students learn some dates and names by heart. Though, students should have the necessary set of knowledge on the topics included in the curriculum. Nonetheless, researchers and educators stress that that it is crucial to help students acquire and develop metacognition skills (Phillips, 2008). Of course, students must be able to reveal ties and correlation between different events and different historical figures. The development of critical thinking skills is one of the major goals of the teacher of History. High school students should also have their own perspective and they should be able to defend their position.
Apart from that, the US teacher should be able to teach diverse populations. The US society is characterized by its diversity and people of different backgrounds often study in one class. Phillips (2008) stresses that the teacher should take into account the students’ backgrounds and make sure the material is provided in the ethnicity sensitive manner. The teacher is also responsible for development of proper atmosphere in the class where no conflicts are possible. Discussion of issues is always welcome but all student should be respectful to other nations, races and ethnicities (Phillips, 2008). Furthermore, diversity is often associated with linguistic issues as well. Thus, Zainuddin, Yahya, Morales-Jones and Ariza (2010) state that teaching ESOL students can be quite challenging. Many contemporary schools have adopted inclusion policies and ESOL students often study with English speaking learners. However, the teacher should be ready to address this issue as well and make sure that all students understand him/her.
Besides, the teacher should also remember that all students have different characteristics, preferences and learning styles. The teacher should be able to utilize different methods and strategies to teach students with different interests and needs. Phillips (2008) notes that in the majority of schools, History is a popular discipline and students (especially at high school) like this subject. Nonetheless, in many schools, students find History classes boring and non-engaging (or even unnecessary). It is clear that History teachers are responsible for such attitudes. The teacher is completely responsible for students’ engagement. He/she should apply the most effective teaching methods to make students interested in the subject. It is also important to pay specific attention to assessment. Of course, there are certain standardized procedures that are inevitable. However, the teachers should try to make assessment interesting and effective. Quizzes, projects as well as other types of tasks can be used as assessment procedures.
It is also important to remember about the technological development and the use of technology in class. Students are active users of various media and it is but natural to employ these media during History classes (Stern, 2015). Internet (with its boundless opportunities and countless resources) as well as social networks can be an integral part of every History class. Of course, this area is undergoing constant changes and teachers have to keep informed about the latest advances.
Finally, teachers should always try to self-develop. They should always broaden the scope of their knowledge and attend various trainings. An effective History teacher cannot rely on books or even smart resources during his/her classes. The teacher should be knowledgeable and inspirational. Telling stories, providing examples from the real life and encouraging students to discuss issues can make History lessons truly interesting.
In conclusion, I would like to note that the areas of major concern are identified, and I can be sure that I am ready to start my studies to become an effective History teacher. I believe I can be an inspirational teacher as I am inspired by History. I will try to help younger generations to learn more about the humanity (as well as their country) and, more importantly, I will encourage them to think critically and develop their own perspectives rather than simply repeat other people’s ideas. In this way, I will contribute to development of the society of independent and inspirational personalities who will work hard to develop the human society. Of course, I will have a great privilege to have a job, which is also the passion of my life.
Phillips, I. (2008). Securing Australia's future: An analysis of the international education markets in India. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Stern, A. (2015). Bridge the gap: Replicating the interactivity of the physical classroom in an online environment. The History Teacher, 48(3), 483-504.
Zainuddin, H., Yahya, N., Morales-Jones, C., & Ariza, E. (2010). Fundamentals of teaching English to speakers of other languages in K-12 mainstream classrooms. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.