In a video that went viral last week, a former teacher said he left the profession so he could earn almost $20,000 more a year at Walmart.
“Leaving teaching after six years to go be a manager at Walmart and make more not using my degree,” said Sethy Gabriel in a TikTok video on Monday. His footage has been viewed over 780,000 times.
Gabriel said in the comments section that he “liked teaching” but quit due to the pay.
In Ohio, he claimed to have earned $43,000 a year as a teacher, compared to, depending on bonuses, $65,000 to $70,000 as a Walmart Coach.
Once he rose to the role of manager, he could earn over $100,000, Gabriel claimed.
The former schoolteacher, who for the last six years taught second and first grade, coached football and track, and taught summer school, said that his 45-hour work week at Walmart was little in compared to the time he dedicated to his profession as a teacher.
“I don’t know if you know about those long teacher hours of lesson planning, grading, report cards, after-school events…if you’re a coach it’s even worse,” he told viewers in a follow-up video.
“I remember weeks where I probably put in 60 hours.”
According to a survey by Merrimack College, teacher job satisfaction has reached an all-time low this year. The majority of respondents reported feeling overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated.
Only 12 percent indicated they were extremely pleased with their work, down from 39 percent in 2012.
More than half of those polled stated they would not advise their younger selves to pursue a profession in education.
Per the National Education Association, the average teacher pay for the 2021-22 school year was $66,397, up 1.7 percent over the previous year.
However, rising inflation has outpaced wage growth. Teachers earn $2,179 less than they did ten years ago when adjusted for inflation.
As schools grapple with teacher shortages and public outrage over school shootings, states such as New Mexico, Florida, and Mississippi have announced wage increases to make teaching jobs more competitive. However, some of those raises have yet to be implemented.
The Florida Department of Education stated in February that teachers in 31 of the state’s counties had yet to receive the $47,500 wage minimums promised two years earlier.
Gabriel is far from the only teacher to leave education for a retail job, as the comments section of his video revealed.