I wouldn’t do it if I were you.
I have a similar background – I graduated with a BA in history. I am a MAJOR history buff. I am constantly elbow deep in some history book, and I can talk about the subject for hours. I was on track for a PhD in Medieval history when I left the program and transitioned to elementary ed. I was going through a rough time, there was a death in my family, and I needed a job that paid something soon. Teaching was it.
I was lucky in that I’m a very good teacher. It comes very naturally to me. I’m usually a school favorite, I have amazing rapport with the kids, the parents usually like me a lot, and I get along with my coworkers. I plan out intricate and engaging lessons. I teach them to play historical sports, we make historical food, we build things, we learn to meditate, create henna designs, write and perform plays, put on festivals, have political debates, recreate historical battles, and we decorate our room. Last year we created a castle inside and out complete with banners, dragons, a moat, and a dungeon. The kids used candles to write by, we made stained glass windows, and students were given feudal roles to play, complete with a royal court. We even had a jester who would sing and dance and tell jokes. This year I created a coffee shop and filled the room with couches, chairs, pillows, and soft rugs so they didn’t have to sit at their desks much. And through it all, I had people visiting my classroom and quizzing the kids on their knowledge, only to find that they knew WAY more than standard. But I do more than that. I stock snacks for kids who aren’t getting enough food at home. I walk them partway home. I mend their sweaters. I buy books on the Japanese language for the student who is obsessed with Japan. We talk about what it looks like to manage your anger, we talk about the ways they have experienced racism, we talk about their struggles with organization and time management. We talk about how to make the perfect hot cocoa. I hug them when they cry because their parents are divorcing. I teach them dance routines for talent shows and I help them learn how to sing in harmony for their music performances. I go to their sports games and their musicals. I call CPS when they confide that they have been abused and I hold them and tell them that it wasn’t their fault. I can walk into a classroom of kids running around and talking, calmly ask for their attention, and it will be so silent you can hear a pin drop. Last year for my birthday, my 8th graders went around the room and told me everything they loved about me. I loved the kids, I loved my job. And I can point to many other teachers who were doing the exact things I was doing and were giving even MORE.
And yet, I left my position and I’m looking to transition out of teaching. Because at the end of the day, I don’t get anything in the way of better pay or title than the teacher who doesn’t interact, goes home at 3, and gives her kids worksheets. I regularly spent 10-15 hours at work every day, and if I had a doctor appt I couldn’t get a day off without having to call my own sub in and then I had to plan minutely the entire day, and when I got back I would have to do damage control (not the sub’s fault, it’s tough being a sub and I very much appreciated when ANYTHING got done). My time wasn’t valued. Parents could be terrible jerks. I spent a lot of time helping a particular student who had behavioral issues, and for my time and my effort his parents came in and screamed in my face because their son lied about something he got in trouble for, and they thought I was ‘picking on him’. I’ve said “I am so DONE today” only to find someone told my principal I said I was DRUNK today. I’ve had principals come into my room screaming at me because there’s a piece of paper on the floor, I’ve been told I’m never allowed to sit down at all. I have to wait hours and hours to go to the bathroom and when I get a moment I have parents, administration, and coworkers in my room to try to talk to me in the few minutes we have before the kids come back. Every night I came home and I was exhausted and could barely function. I had no life outside the classroom.
On top of my workload, there are events to plan, clubs to manage, field trips to organize, and a million things that administration has decided we need to focus on despite the fact that after that year we probably won’t use it again. I’ll be forced to attend professional development that I can’t even use. There will be meeting after meeting over things that can be sent in an email, and the things that I really need to talk with collegues with such as curriculum and class management are shoved aside so we can read a book together and complete busywork. And no matter what I am doing in class I can expect to be interrupted at a moment’s notice and be told that I have to keep the kids for an extra half hour and there goes my bathroom break, or I have to have the kids make ornaments by the end of the day, or something like that. No matter what you do it is never, ever enough.
In high school you may not have to deal with some of that…but there is a reason I didn’t go into high school. My history program was full of men who didn’t give a crap about history. They are coaches. High schools love to hire coaches to teach history and most of them are terrible at it. It’s not their real job there. In fact, history is the least cared about subject in school, it seems.
I am not saying teaching can’t be rewarding. It absolutely can. And you can definitely make a difference. But if you want to be a GOOD teacher, you will end up drowning in this career, making substantially less than your peers and working far more hours. You will end up having to miss your kids events because you have to be there for your students. And at the end of the day when you should be spending time with your family, you’ll be grading and planning lessons. Year after year the driven and creative teachers leave, and the ones who cut corners and never change their plans year to year stay. You’ll put everything into a career just to be treated like crap by people who sat in a classroom 20 years ago and think they know something.
I would suggest career changing to a field that will pay you something and offer you some work-life balance. Keep history as a passion. Volunteer your time to tutor students. You will probably be happier for it.