ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – A teacher in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is gaining a lot of attention after sharing a video on TikTok in which she reveals to students that she is quitting her job.
Now, she hopes her message will inspire the district to change the way teachers are paid.
Mahalia Aponte recently moved to New Mexico and applied for a job at Garfield Middle School in Albuquerque. She began teaching 8th grade social studies the school year a few months after finally earning her second degree with the New Mexico Department of Public Education.
Aponte said: “I started working there, loved the position, had a great time with the kids. “I got my first paycheck and was immediately interested.”
As Aponte explains, Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) prorated her annual salary from $51,000 to about $34,500, because she didn’t start at the beginning of the year. However, Aponte thinks she will have the option to receive larger checks during the nine-month school year, rather than smaller checks spread over a 12-month pay schedule — an option she has at the other school district in which she works. (Aponte works full-time at another job during the summer months.)
However, Aponte said that no one at APS made it clear that the district only operates on a 12-month pay schedule, despite allegedly reaching out to ask “over and over again,” according to Aponte. It wasn’t until she started working that she learned about the 12-month pay schedule. And since her prorated salary is spread throughout the year, Aponte says she’s left with just $400 more in monthly income than the rent.
“I feel like this happens to a lot of teachers,” Aponte said. “It happens too often and we don’t talk about it.”
In a TikTok video that has now gone viral, Aponte informs the class that she will not be returning because she cannot afford to live on her salary. “I was very honest with them and explained to them the situation,” she says in the video.
She then posted a second video discuss more about what happened.
“I can’t just put myself to work here all day and then work a second job all night just to make ends meet, Monday through Friday, plus work weekends,” Aponte said. Aponte said. “I don’t have any time to myself. I don’t even have time to grade my homework outside of class.”
Aponte hopes talking about her experience can help educate other teachers new to the district, so they can be better prepared for pay. She also hopes it might even change the school district itself, allowing teachers to choose how they are paid.
“It is phenomenal how many teachers are in the same position as me or worse,” Aponte said, citing comments from other educators who responded to her TikTok videos.
Meanwhile, Aponte said she’ll be working full-time as a bartender and server, while also doing some tutoring on the side. She said she will reassess a future at APS before the school year begins.
APS was not available to comment on Aponte’s video during the district’s winter break.
https://kfor.com/news/teachers-tiktok-goes-viral-after-telling-class-shes-quitting-over-payment-issue-its-happening-too-often/ Teacher’s TikTok goes viral after telling class she’s quitting her job because of payment issues: ‘This happens too often’