Teacher Leaves Profession, Says He Is Earning $20,000 More Working At Walmart

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In a video that went viral last week, an Ohio man said he left teaching to earn almost $20,000 more a year working at Walmart.

A TikTok video posted by Sethy Gabriel on Monday revealed that he was quitting teaching after six years in order to work as a manager at Walmart, where he could earn more money without having to use his degree. Almost one million people have seen his video.

Gabriel said in the comments section that he “loved teaching” but quit due of the low compensation. Walmart Coaches make between $65,000 and $70,000 per year, depending on incentives. He stated he earned $43,000 per year as an Ohio teacher. Gabriel said that after he was promoted to the job of manager, he had the potential to earn more than $100,000.

According to the former schoolteacher, who taught first and second grade, coached football and track, and taught summer school over the course of the last six years, his 45-hour work week at Walmart was nothing in contrast to the amount of time he invested in teaching. “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.”

In the 2021-22 school year, the average teacher’s income was $66,397, a 1.7 percent increase over the previous year. However, rising inflation has surpassed wages. Even after factoring in inflation, teachers now earn $2,179 less per year than they did a decade ago.

As the comments on his video indicated, Gabriel is far from the only instructor who has left the classroom to work in retail. “I did the same,” wrote one viewer. “I love teaching and miss my students but left to be [an operations] manager for more than double my teaching pay.” A further commenter chimed in, “I was going to school to be a teacher, been at Walmart 5 years and make more than I would with some degrees.”