Mr. Hall Bets On A New Teaching Career

After spending time as a professional gambler, Mr. Hall has found his calling in education.


Over the course of his life and career, Zachary Hall feels that he has grown from someone who was more focused on himself and unhappy with his life choices, to someone who has learned through teaching that giving to others can enrich his life.

Mr. Hall believes that, “If you give to people and you surround yourself with good people, good things happen. And you all grow together.”

Originally, Mr. Hall didn’t actually intend to go to college for education but instead went to school for engineering. He went to a school at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He didn’t find a passion for it, didn’t go to class, and failed out in only a year and half. Afterwards, Mr. Hall wanted to become a professional magician. He traveled around the world to show off his magic card tricks but learned it wasn’t a financially sustainable job. So he started to find jobs like retail jobs, selling both phones and appliances.

He later realized this career path also wasn’t for him. After leaving retail Mr. Hall worked as a professional poker player for four years. Although he made enough money to be able to support himself, he found it to be a depressing and lonely existence. It quickly became a repetitive and stagnant lifestyle without friends, promotions, time off, or vacations.

When Mr. Hall came to a very low point in his life, he decided to choose a new career path, something that was completely the opposite of professional gambling.

“Poker was take, take, take, take. Don’t give money, don’t give anything back. I’m like, alright: education. Specifically [working with] kids with really severe disabilities is like the most opposite thing I could think of,” said Mr. Hall.

To continue to change, he found a school where an acquaintance also worked. The school was called the center school in Holyoke, Massachusetts. And with luck on his side, he got hired. He was working with kids that were the most disabled kids in Western Massachusetts. The school accepted students from all surrounding districts.

The first month in this new field, Mr. Hall was punched, slapped, kicked, bitten, and he had to chase down kids on Hampden Street in Holyoke. But, nevertheless, there were benefits to it: going swimming with kids in the pool, going on field trips, teaching. Generally, it was a profession made up of very high highs and very low lows. But Mr. Hall found himself loving it and the same company that was operating the school that partners with local high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools was also partnering with Granby.

One day, his supervisor called Zac into their office.

“Tomorrow, you are going to Granby Public Schools to work. I was like ‘oh, tomorrow?’ She says ‘yeah tomorrow.’ ‘Okay? What do I need to know?’ She said ‘call the one who works at Granby she’ll tell you everything.’ So I said okay.”

That was 6 to 7 years ago since Zachary started working at Granby Junior Senior High School. Ever since Zac started working at Granby, he learned how to work with different populations of kids: kids who need alternative school, kids who can handle high school but need extra help, either academic or emotional or how to interact socially.

Throughout his time being at Granby Junior Senior High School, Zac became a girls volleyball coach. It all started when Mrs. Jordan at the time was a sports director, she was looking for someone to coach it. There were 8 people who were asking and all of them declined. And Zac was asked last.

“Even though she knew I didn’t know how to coach a team. She was right to ask those 8 before me because I didn’t know anything about volleyball,” jokes Hall. But one of Zac’s best friends, Jared, was a volleyball coach in New Jersey. He called Jared, and he said he would give Zac his whole play book.

After that conversation he has agreed to be a girls volleyball coach, which officially was a team in 2018, after the first year Zac developed great liking for being a coach and continued being one ever since which brought him to year 5 of his position as a coach. Ever since 2018 the program expanded from 9 students to roughly 30 students, Zac said it was a great success, the biggest accomplishment he finds himself proud of. With coming every year with new players and new struggles, still find ways to manage it and make it able to work.

Currently Zac Hall is a program coordinator for the structure learning center or the SLC, as his position he sees day to day staffing of the students and communicating with the parents, also agencies like Department of Children and Families and Department of Child Services, helping the students and the families to get the help they need. For the situations they got going on at home.

“You asked what the hardest thing is … probably not being able to do everything for them (the students), for all of you guys. Because we can only control teachers, control what happens in these walls … I realized I can’t do everything, I can do so much and it’s up to them (students) and the parents to do the rest,” said Hall.

As being someone who works in SLC one thing Zac would like to see as a change how people in Gen Ed view their peers who need a little more help, where times they don’t understand them, mistreat the students or even exclude them from things but in reality the Gen Ed took a little bit of time to understand what extra they need.

“Best parts of working in the Special Ed department is people who work at Special Ed are super passionate and want to help all the time and I just love it.”