We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Social Studies Teacher?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
Our promise to you
Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Practical Adult Insights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A social studies teacher is an educator who instructs students in a wide range of topics that relate to understanding and contributing to societies around the world. The subjects she normally teaches include politics, history, government and geography. Current events, civics and ethical issues are also popular subjects. This type of teacher traditionally teaches in grade levels from kindergarten through 12th grade, depending on the structure of the school system.

The most defining aspect of being a social studies teacher is the diversity of subjects that fit into the class. A math teacher is traditionally required to teach some form of mathematics, such as basic arithmetic, algebra or geometry, but a teacher of social studies can have a lesson plan that meanders around the world and includes discussions on virtually any topic that affects society. One topic of interest frequently spurs interest in another.

Depending on the grade level at which she teaches, a social studies teacher commonly assigns homework and projects related to current issues and historical events that may have had notable effects on society. At the high school level, her students may express political leanings as they progress toward adulthood. In the lower grade levels, students are frequently educated on more concrete subjects such as geography and history.

Due to the sensitive nature of many social studies issues, a successful teacher is normally expected to maintain neutrality as she introduces and leads discussions. Her empathy and unbiased insight, especially at the high school and junior high school levels, ordinarily gains the trust of the students. This trust typically leads to candor in classroom interchanges and motivates students to learn more about a wide variety of subjects.

A social studies teacher, like other teachers, is normally required to follow a core curriculum. She is customarily expected to adjust that curriculum to incorporate the various cultural backgrounds, attitudes and academic capabilities of her students. Dividing the students into groups to study different topics or arranging formal debates on social issues are common teaching methods that help students learn from each other as well as about each other.

In addition to using standardized textbooks, a social studies teacher frequently asks her students to bring in magazine and newspaper articles that have spiked their interest in current affairs. This usually initiates enlightening discussion in the classroom. It also gives the teacher and students a clearer perception of what issues are of genuine concern to them.

Becoming a social studies teacher customarily requires a bachelor’s degree as well as a teaching certificate. Requirements may vary by region and school. Teaching experience is not always mandatory. Demonstrated communication and motivational skills are preferred traits for the position.

Practical Adult Insights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By KoiwiGal — On Jan 31, 2014

@Fa5t3r - I think there is room for some things to be mandatory, although I know it's difficult to choose. I can still remember learning about the Holocaust in social studies as a kid and how it changed the way I saw the world. And myself, for that matter.

I would expect any decent curriculum to cover that subject.

By Fa5t3r — On Jan 30, 2014

@irontoenail - Social studies is related to so many different careers it's not funny, so it shouldn't be ignored by a curriculum even if integration isn't encouraged.

Honestly, the best lesson plans for teachers in social studies involve letting the students research topics of their own choice (within reason). You're never going to cover every single topic you could in social studies anyway, so you might as well stick to the ones that interest them.

If you make it so that they have to present their research, that means the whole class will learn from it anyway.

By irontoenail — On Jan 30, 2014

I have to say that if you are thinking of coming up with some classroom lesson plans for social studies, you might want to look at how to make them integrated lessons.

Social studies doesn't get nearly as much time as it should when schools demand that the curriculum focus on bedrock subjects like writing and mathematics.

But you can integrate writing, reading and math into a lot of social studies topics. Statistics are a big part of many topics in social studies and there are many classic novels relating to different aspects of civics and history.

I think it's fairly redundant these days to just teach abstract skills like math and writing without giving them a real world context and social studies can provide that context.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Practical Adult Insights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.