ABC’s Abbott Elementary Reflects On The Teachers Who Go The Extra Mile

The new comedy series shows the lives of teachers working at an underfunded school.

By Shelby Stewart January 21, 2022

ABC's Abbott Elementary. 

Relatability and humor culminate In timeless television, and ABC’s  Abbott Elementary is one of the best new shows to exemplify that. 

Only a few episodes in, the mockumentary style show has provided viewers with a hilarious perspective of a dilapidated inner-city school. The series was created by actress and comedian Quinta Brunson, who also stars as Janine Teagues, a young naive teacher hoping to provide the absolute best for her students with her can-do attitude and generous attempts to go above and beyond.

Her character is scarcely supported by an unqualified, yet Tik Tok savvy, principal, an old school janitor, and a few other teachers who somewhat understand her everyday struggle. 

As shows like NBC’s The Office and Parks and Recreation made light of corporate life and city government institutions, respectivley, Abbott Elementary is making an important statement about the American public education system.  You see thwarted efforts to make change in moments where Brunson’s character advocates for school supplies, and tries her best to turn a negative into a positive situation, but usually to no avail. Teaching is an under-appreciated profession with long hours and low wages, and Abbott Elementary masterfully depicts those hardships in a lighthearted, comedic manner. 

As we wait for a new episode, the current situation for the students on the show seems dire. The lights in the hallways are flickering, and money that’s given to the school to make much-needed improvements, is spent on a new school sign with Principal Coleman’s (played by Janelle James) face on it. 

It may be a bold statement to say the show is excellent, with only a few episodes under its belt, but it has a realness that even Houston-area teachers can relate to.  

Cha’Mario Chopp, a Houston educator, and former elementary school teacher, says it’s easy to see herself reflected in all of the teachers on the show. 

“I've been under a couple of principals whose priorities were wrong, so the role of the principal is hilarious to me,” Chopp explains.

“As far as the school, I’ve worked all my career in lower-income schools and even though we never had to worry about light issues, when that A/C goes out it’s definitely a wrap.”


Olivia Brown, an elementary school teacher at KIPP Peace in Third Ward, had nothing but positive things to say about the show because it mirrors her daily experience. 

“I feel all public school teachers can relate. I’m glad they put it out the way they did, so people can see just how chaotic school is on a daily basis. I have so many stories,” Brown shares.

Abbott Elementary has its share of critics as well, but fans of comedy with a message should be able to appreciate how it maintains a hilarious nature all the while touching on some of the genuine experiences teachers face. And for those teachers in the real-life struggle in poorly funded public schools, the show acts as a reminder that  those extra-caring educators are still out there, working hard to uplift children, despite the odds. 

Watch Abbott Elementary every Tuesday night on ABC and Hulu. 


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