A woman who earned a master’s degree in education says that she quit her teaching job in order to work as a server because she wasn’t earning enough in the classroom to pay off her student loans.
TikTok user Genevieve (@genny_sleboda) posted about her conundrum in a viral TikTok that’s garnered over 44,000 views on the popular social media platform. Her video prompted responses from other users who found themselves in similar situations.
@genny_sleboda i have a masters in education and chose to be a server….. the degrees not going anywhere babe. also how you expect me to pay back these student loans on a teacher salary? #serverlife #servermoney #serverproblems #postgradlife #careertok #teachertok #servertok ♬ original sound – Chris Dapkas
“If you have a college degree what are you doing working as a server?” a text overlay on the video reads. Genevieve lip-syncs her response to the aforementioned comment plastered on her TikTok clip: “What if, and just hear me out for a second, you shut the f*ck up.”
The Fort Lauderdale-based food industry worker further explains her decision in the video’s caption, writing that a teacher’s salary isn’t enough for her to pay back her student loans.
“I have a masters in education and chose to be a server….. the degrees not going anywhere babe. also how you expect me to pay back these student loans on a teacher salary?” she asks.
According to Salary.org, the average annual income of a public school teacher ranges anywhere from $47,668 to $69,625 a year. While there are programs that forgive student loan debts for teachers, like the Teacher Loan Forgiveness Program, folks are only eligible for up to $17,500 worth of loan forgiveness.
Other programs, like the Public Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) plan, will completely wipe out the balance on a person’s federal direct loans after they make 120 qualifying payments. And those who have a Perkins loan can get the entirety of that loan forgiven if they teach at a low-income institution and/or tackle certain subjects. For example, teachers in Kentucky can cancel up to 100 percent of their student loans depending on how long they teach.
In the comments, a number of TikTokers shared that they were in the same exact boat as Genevieve.
One person wrote, “Me still being a bartender after graduating with my teaching degree lmao. I will do it but rn I want to pay stuff off before I’m poor.”
Another person said that despite getting a degree, they still found themselves working as a substitute teacher, which doesn’t even require 4-year schooling: “Me being a sub now which doesn’t require a degree.”
Someone else shared that it wasn’t just graduates in the teaching field who weren’t able to pay off student loans.
“Literally about to apply to be a server with my masters in biotech bc no one is HIRING with proper pay,” they wrote.
The Daily Dot has reached out to Genevieve via TikTok comment for further information.