Teaching Profession

What Do Teachers Think About ‘Abbott Elementary’?

By Hayley Hardison — January 28, 2022 1 min read
ABC's "Abbott Elementary" stars Quinta Brunson as Janine.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

In the spring of 2020, shortly after the start of the pandemic, teachers were hailed as heroes whose superpowers took shape inside of computer screens instead of school buildings. By that winter, though, many educators reported that their favorable public reception had rapidly dwindled as schools and families warred over the return to in-person schooling.

Lack of public respect for the teaching profession isn’t a symptom of the pandemic, though it may have intensified over the past two years. Low pay and poor school building conditions are perennial issues.

Seeing these issues be brought to life in a mainstream TV show has offered some exhausted and anxious teachers comedic relief—but more importantly, inspiration, representation, and hope for the future of teaching and learning.

‘Funny, relatable, and encouraging’

Education Week reporter Ileana Najarro recently interviewed the creator and star of “Abbott Elementary,” Quinta Brunson, about the new award-winning ABC show set in a fictional West Philadelphia public school. Brunson, whose mother who taught in Philadelphia, aims to “[capture] the nuances of the teaching profession, the significance of Black teachers and predominantly Black schools like Abbott, and the hope that the show can garner more support for real teachers across the country.”

Here are some responses to “Abbott Elementary,” which premiered in December 2021, from the very demographic the show wishes to honor: teachers.

‘Set aside for summer’

Some educators took exception to a comedic framing of the teaching profession in 2022, especially considering the mile-high hurdles teachers must jump over during the pandemic.

‘Thank you for your service’

Teachers aren’t the only viewers appreciating the show’s raw depiction of K-12 education. Some non-educators on Twitter voiced how the show’s transformed their view on teaching, reminding them of how difficult—but necessary—the profession is.

“I want people to be moved to support schools and teachers in any way they can, whether that be to donate to a wish list, because that’s what people need right now,” shared Brunson in her interview with Education Week.

“Teachers are already fighting for change within the schools, but they’re also teaching so I think that citizens could offer a little bit more help,” she said. “There’s so many things you can do to make sure that this show doesn’t exist anymore.”

Related Tags:

Events

Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
Mission Possible: Saving Time While Improving Student Outcomes
Learn how district leaders are maximizing instructional time and finding the best resources for student success through their MTSS framework.
Content provided by Panorama Education
Reading & Literacy K-12 Essentials Forum Writing and the Science of Reading
Join us for this free event as we highlight and discuss the intersection of reading and writing with Education Week reporters and expert guests.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Teaching Profession 9 FAQs on Tax Savings for Teachers
Here's how to claim education expense deductions and one other possible break for teachers.
4 min read
Blurred IRS Tax Return Form 1040 and close up crop of a dollar bill
iStock/Getty
Teaching Profession Meet the 5 Teachers Being Considered for National Teacher of the Year
From P.E. to culturally responsive teaching, the finalists all find ways to connect to their students.
7 min read
National Teachers of the Year
Clockwise from top left: Carolyn Kielma from Connecticut, Jermar Rountree from D.C., Rebecka Peterson from Oklahoma, Harlee Harvey from Alaska, Kimberly Radostits from Illinois
Teaching Profession What the Research Says Scared, Anxious, Worried: States’ New Restrictions Have Teachers on Edge
Even math and science teachers say they're self-censoring and frightened about falling afoul of the policies.
6 min read
Image of caution tape near the teacher's desk in the classroom.
enjoynz/DigitalVision Vectors + EdWeek
Teaching Profession Morning Rituals Educators Swear By to Start the Day Right
From yoga and exercise to greeting each student by name, educators share their best tips for a great start to the school day.
1 min read
Image of a clock on a spiral notebook.
iStock/Getty