Help teachers transition to what’s next



When I started teaching, I knew I wasn’t entering the career for the accolades or the pay. I was passionate about entering this field knowing that I wanted to help kids – I didn’t consider any other path. So, I wasn’t prepared for what to do when I would eventually have to make the choice to move on from my career as a teacher.

My wife faced a serious cancer scare in 2018, forcing us to step back and evaluate how we spent our time. One of the heaviest considerations we faced was our teaching careers. After working sixty-hour weeks with little reward and carrying a large emotional toll for four years, we realized that we needed to spend more time at home and focus on raising our newborn. As a result, my wife and I quit our jobs and had to quickly figure out ways to support our family after changing our career paths.

We were most surprised about how well our skills translated to other career paths. It’s common to think that teaching is a career with few skills valuable to other industries, but that’s not the case. We were able to use our skill sets to shift into a freelance career that gave us the work-life balance we have always wanted.

Not every teacher chooses to stay in this profession until retirement, for various personal or professional reasons, and this is becoming more prevalent in the current education environment. Having experienced the challenges of shifting from this career path, my wife and I created a space to help others on this journey. 

Our Facebook group, Life After Teaching, was created from conversations we’ve had with countless teachers seeking advice in similar situations. The group has grown to over 45,000 members who encourage each other and offer tips to teachers thinking about changing their career paths. This group has given these teachers a forum to express their issues without the threat of termination or shame from those who don’t know their situation. Thousands of teachers in our group have made successful career changes to various professions, including HR, construction design writing, and even aviation.

While teachers care deeply about our students and the importance of education, we are still people with lives and families, and sometimes personal or professional reasons force us to step away from the profession. It is important to help teachers to find what’s right for them, even if that means they must move on from the industry. 

I encourage teachers to join our group or find a community of peers that have found new passions and jobs that align with their dreams. Even if you’re not looking to find a new career just yet, this community can provide free resources you can use to further your current career.

We can’t afford to let our teachers’ talents go to waste, and our group is here to help them reinvest those talents into communities across the U.S.

Zachary Long is the Founder of Life After Teaching

  • This is basically an advertisement for their business. Not an op-ed. Didn’t realize purpose of Chronicle was to advertise businesses hidden as opinions.

    • What business are you speaking of? The only thing I see in here is a facebook group where peers help and support each other.

      • I was thinking the same thing, so I re-read the article and still fail to see any “business” just a facebook group of peers.

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