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Life after school: Preparing our students for their futures

Life after school - TeacherCast Guest Blog

Every educator looks forward to the day their students graduate and move onward to productive and successful lives as adults. It is hoped that they take everything they have learned throughout their primary and secondary education and put it to good use in a way that makes the school proud of them.

Although in many ways student’s education prepares them to obtain a decent job and handle many of the difficulties that life with throw their way, we always wonder if there is more we can do to help them navigate the transition. Should teachers work to help students adapt to day to day adult tasks such as filing taxes, managing a bank account, or obtaining higher education?

Learning to File Taxes

Many young adults diving into their first full-time job after graduating high school soon experience their first tax season. For many, this is the first time they will file their taxes alone without the help of parents. Often times they struggle to understand the paperwork they are required to submit and may have difficulty obtaining all the deductions they qualify for.

One way educators can help their students adapt to live outside of school is by introducing their students to the basic terminology and idea of taxes. Additionally, they can expose students to e-filing, which has changed the way most of us do our taxes. Giving students a technological avenue for filing taxes, along with a basic understanding of what is needed can be a major benefit further down the road.

Managing a Bank Account

A shocking number of student graduate from high school with little to no knowledge of how to successfully manage their bank accounts. Indeed, only 17 states require high school students to take any type of personal finance course at all. This means that a significant number of young adults are entering the world after school without much knowledge of how to budget, pay bills, balance a checkbook, or manage debt.

Teachers can make a profound impact on the number of students going forth without this knowledge with a few simple lessons on personal finance whether in a course designed around that, or just an economics course. Since most money management is done online these days, this type of education can really play to student technological strengths. For example, showing them how to use budgeting financial apps for their phones may be more useful than a classic checkbook balancing sheet.

Obtaining a Higher Education

Finally, at some point, many students will look to obtain some level of higher education after graduating from high school. For a large portion of them, filling out the application materials and submitting everything successfully is the most difficult obstacle. This means that giving students some baseline knowledge about how to apply for college online or otherwise can be a really great way to help prepare them for life after graduation.

These types of skills may not fall into a regular class schedule in many school districts, therefore, college prep courses may be an after school type program where teachers can help students that are interested in continuing their education. Within this framework, teachers can help students fill out applications, create checklists of materials that need to be submitted, and provide answers to a multitude of different questions that will likely come up. Ultimately, giving student these skills can help them in other ways further down the road such as during the job application process.


The majority of teachers work hard and go the extra mile every day to make sure their students are set up for success after leaving the classroom. The skills they develop are often useful throughout life, but many students may be lacking in basic day to day skills. Educators can play a critical role in helping them develop certain types of life skills such as filing taxes, managing bank accounts, and filling out online application such as those needed for higher education.

Brittni Brown is a current masters candidate at the University of Idaho. In her free time, she enjoys a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, biking, and camping.

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