This former middle school teacher is going viral for talking about how quitting for a job at Costco saved her mental health, and it’s sparking a conversation we need to have about how teachers are treated
There’s no denying that teachers are very necessary heroes in our children’s lives. They spend their days nurturing, educating, and caring about kids that aren’t even their own. They also frequently work outside of their paid hours, spend their own money on classroom necessities, and face insane laws that limit their free speech. And they do it all for pretty abysmal pay that leaves them struggling to afford a decent standard of living in many places. Now, a former middle school teacher’s video about quitting teaching to take a job at Costco is going viral—and shining a light on all these issues and more.
The video shows a day in the life for Maggie Perkins, who quit her middle school teaching job after eight years in education, and now works at Costco.
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I used to be a teacher and now I work at Costco. This is my first year not having a winter break. I do not miss it at all. My pace of my work life now is so much better, I am not sick or exhausted like I used to be when I was a teacher. When I was a teacher I used my winter break basically to recover and go into the next semester of just surviving. fformerteachertteacherquittokccostcotiktokrretailworkereexteachertiktokccareertransitiont#teachersonbreak♬ original sound – Millennial Ms. Frizzle
“This is my first year not having a winter break, and how do I feel? I feel great,” she says at the beginning of the clip.
Perkins explains that even though she worked seven straight days during the Christmas shopping rush, she feels better and more rested than she did as a teacher who got a weeks-long winter break.
“When I got to Christmas break, I was so exhausted that I was literally sick,” she says. “I am better now that I have been in my livable memory.”
Maybe even more heartbreaking than Perkins’ video are the comments from other teachers.
“I’m a HS math teacher and I compare teaching like being in an abusive marriage,” one wrote. “You’re scared to leave.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Perkins said she finally left education for a simple reason: she ran out of reasons to stay.
“I began to see that I had no boundaries, and when I established boundaries I experienced intense gaslighting to coerce me to stay and be overworked,” she said. “I left because my success as an educator was measured by how well I ignored systemic issues, how compliant I was, and how much trauma I could endure while smiling and doing it ‘for the kids.'”