This article is an empirical analysis of history teaching as a communicative process. Dialogic history teaching develops as a designed meaning-making process that depends on thorough pedagogical strategies and decisions, and requires cohesion in teacher expectations, introductions and interventions. A micro-dialogic study is presented in this article to document a paradoxical teaching situation where history as subject-related content all but disappeared from a group of students' meaning-making processes because they were preoccupied with figuring out their teacher's intentions. History teaching thus turned into 'just teaching' without the teacher or the students being aware of it. A strong emphasis on history teaching as a communicative process and dialogue as a key pedagogical tool have potential with regard to pedagogical decision-making and strategies on the one hand, and for relationships between students and history as subject-related content on the other. The analysis presented in this article contributes to a growing field of studies on dialogic history teaching, of which the focus on students as an important part of classroom dialogues is central.