A teacher who claims to have doubled his salary after quitting the classroom to work at Walmart has urged other educators to learn his lesson in a video that is going viral.
Seth Gabriel quit his job as an early education teacher in Ohio state, USA, after realising that he would earn more money working in retail.
In a series of viral TikTok clips, he spelled out just how much better his life has become since he gave up the classroom.
One clip on his TikTok page titled ‘It’s not even close’ has received more than 780,000 views.
In the video, Seth shows off his new work uniform and explained: “Leaving teaching after six years to go be a manager at Walmart and make more not using my degree.”
One user responded: “I’m in school to be a teacher, I’m starting to regret it.”
While another stated: “It’s so much work to teach for little pay, we really need to pay our teachers better.”
Some netizens pointed out that Seth was missing out on weekends off and long summer holidays.
One said: “The satisfaction you get when you have an impact on some kid’s life through teaching.”
Another claimed: “Teaching pays off in the later years”.
In a later video, Seth explained he used to earn USD 43,000 (GBP 35,100) a year as a teacher.
But now he makes between USD 65,000 to 70,000 (GBP 53,000-57,100) as a Walmart coach for a 45-hour week instead of a teacher’s 60 hours.
The figures work out at a pay rate of nearly USD 14 (GBP 11) per hour in the classroom and close to USD 30 (GBP 25) per hour in the store.
He said: “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.
“Store managers make six figures plus a crazy bonus depending on how they do.”
Teacher policy expert Susan Moore Johnson – a professor of education at Harvard University – explains: “The ‘hidden subsidy of public education’ is the fact that teachers for many years were necessarily working at suppressed wage levels because they really had no options other than teaching.”
A recent survey of 6,000 educators on the learning content platform ‘Teachers Pay Teachers’ revealed that 48 per cent of teachers said they had considered changing jobs in the last month.
In 2018 Time Magazine stated: “The country’s roughly 3.2 million full-time public-school teachers are experiencing some of the worst wage stagnation of any profession, earning less on average, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than they did in 1990.”
According to findings by the National Education Association, one in three teachers were thinking of retiring early or resigning due to COVID-19.
A separate survey by the MissionSquare research institute saw teachers reporting greater levels of stress, panic and burnout than other government employees during the recent pandemic.