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:


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.
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
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.
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

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 Teachers’ Careers Go Through Phases. They Need Support in Each
Teachers experience a dip in job satisfaction a few years into their careers.
5 min read
Vector illustration of a female teacher at her desk with her head in her hands. There are papers, stacked notebooks, and a pen on the desk and a very light photo of a blurred school hallway with bustling students walking by in the background.
Teaching Profession Download Downloadable: 5 Ways Principals Can Help With Teacher Burnout
This downloadable gives school leaders and teachers various ways to spot and treat teacher burnout.
1 min read
Silhouette of a woman with an icon of battery with low charge and icons such as a scribble line, dollar sign and lightning bolt floating around the blue background.
Teaching Profession Massages, Mammograms, and Dental Care: How One School Saves Teachers' Time
This Atlanta school offers unique onsite benefits to teachers to help them reduce stress.
3 min read
Employees learn more about health and wellness options during a mini benefits fair put on by The Lovett School in Atlanta on May 8, 2024.
Employees at the Lovett School in Atlanta meet with health benefits representatives during a mini benefits fair on May 8, 2024.
Erin Sintos for Education Week
Teaching Profession Opinion How Two Teachers Helped Me Weave a Dream
A journalist and debut book author dedicates her novel to two of her high school English teachers.
Anne Shaw Heinrich
3 min read
Image of nurturing the craft of writing.
Francis Sheehan for Education Week with N. Kurbatova / iStock / Getty