A former teacher just discovered that she could earn more money as a barista than as an elementary school teacher and she took to TikTok to express her outrage. The video has sparked debate among viewers in the comment section about teacher salaries in the U.S.
In the now-viral video, TikToker @emmtee23, says she used to be a teacher but quit after only two months due to the low pay.
She explains, “Do you want to know something so sad? I used to be a 5th-grade teacher for literally 2 months of my life because I didn’t get paid dick. Sorry, excuse my profanity, but I literally didn’t. I was pulling out of my savings in order to live. I was getting paid and then still having to pull out of my savings in order to literally make a living. Not even make a living, I was paying to work. What the fuck?”
Since she quit, she’s been looking for a new job, but it’s been challenging. She also explains that, since she is only 23-year-old, she’s at a “stage” in life. where she isn’t in need of a “career.”
“I just interviewed for a barista position because why the fuck not. I wanted to, and I don’t know why this upsets me. As a barista, you can be making $20-22 an hour. As a teacher—this literally makes me mad to even say it—I made 12. I made $12 an hour to literally work on Sundays, work on Saturdays, work after work, and manage a whole classroom of literally 30 10-year-olds that were just bazonkos, like, teachers don’t get credit. Like, I cannot believe I could have been a barista this whole time and not even gone down that route. Two months of my life wasted,” the TikToker says in the video.
You Can View The Full Video Here:
I’m heated #arizona
Viewers debated the former teacher’s pay in the comments. While some disagreed with her, many sympathized with her saying the pay was “so sad.”
One person said, “It’s sad that teachers get paid so little. My kids love their teachers and me having to explain why they always have a new teacher is hard.”
Many commenters also pointed out how much they made in the service industry.
“Girl I don’t even want to tell you what I make bartending,” one commenter said.
Even though you need a college degree to be a teacher, many are having to pick up a second job to help make ends meet.
In a 2021 study by the Teacher Salary Project, 53% of 1,200 teachers surveyed were working multiple jobs to make a living.
The pandemic hasn’t helped matters much either. In a 2022 survey by the educators’ union National Education Association (NEA), 55% of public educators in the union are considering quitting their jobs sooner than expected due to COVID-related stressors.
Some viewers asked where she lived because of how low she said her pay was.
“What state? That’s crazy low pay,” one person asked.
“I knew this was Arizona before reading the caption. So sad…,” another commented.
According to the NEA, the average entry-level salary for teachers from 2020 to 2021 was $41,770—roughly $21 per hour if working 40 hours per week, although most teachers end up working overtime. The NEA found that the lowest average starting salary by state was in Montana at $32,495. The highest was in the District of Columbia for $56,313. Arizona’s average was $40,554.
Ther TikToker updated viewers in a follow-up video saying she accepted the barista position she interviewed for.
An update for the haters #arizona #coffee
“That is what I want to do right now, and eventually I think it’d be really cool to open up my own coffee shop so might as well learn those skills right now. I also think I’m gonna go get certified in yoga and become a yoga instructor. So I’m pretty much living my best life,” the TikToker says in the video.