In Finland, history is taught in comprehensive schools at both primary and secondary levels. In primary schools, teachers are qualified class teachers who study one or two history courses during their teacher education. The amount of history taught in teacher education is limited, but student class teachers have studied history while at comprehensive school and general upper secondary school, and they have lived experience of historical cultures as members of different groups and communities. Thus, they have conceptions of what history teaching in school is, and what it should be. In this article, student class teachers’ conceptions of teaching history were examined using data (n=92) consisting of students’ writings at the beginning of their history studies. A phenomenographic approach was used to identify and characterize different conceptions. The results showed that student class teachers considered understanding of the present to be the most important objective in school history. Based on their own school experiences, they highlighted the significance of the big picture instead of learning scattered facts and details. Students also stressed the importance of the motivation to study history. Their conceptions are similar to the curriculum objectives for history teaching in primary school.