Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Life > Academics

Abbott Elementary is a Meaningful Look into Teachers Lives

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Temple chapter.

Disclaimer: Spoilers ahead 

We all witnessed the most anticipated kiss between fan favorites, Janine and Gregory, in Season 2 Episode 16: “Teacher Conference”. All I have to say is… you better pull that lanyard, girl! 

While Quinta Brunson’s multi-hit sitcom is a fun and refreshing watch, it also offers an essential look into the lives and perspectives of teachers.  

I was raised as a teacher’s kid. Both of my parents are educators. My mother worked in the same school system and was a teacher in all my schools until I went to middle and high school. 

With that being said, I saw both my parents’ dedication to their jobs and their real love for their students.  

Right now, teachers are under a lot of scrutiny. All over the country, there are calls to put cameras into classrooms, ban certain books used for educational purposes, and outright ban course materials that would be essential to social development.  

At the forefront of this is Florida, with Governor Ron DeSantis taking advantage of the outrage behind what they call “Critical Race Theory” to suppress vital educational content and add further pressure to the educators who already have a lot on their plate.  

While the writers of Abbott haven’t tackled the controversy of CRT, the show has made efforts to address the conflicts that most outside of the school may not know- but teachers are quite familiar with. Brunson’s Abbott Elementary displays this firstly with the beloved characters that show the common personalities of some of our favorite teachers.  

Janine Teagues and Jacob Hill, played respectively by Quinta Brunson and Chris Perfetti, represent the young teachers with lots of new ideas and love for education. Melissa Schemmenti, played by Lisa Ann Walter, fits the tough-love teacher that works hard. Barbara Howard, played by the iconic Sheryl Lee Ralph, is the established teacher everyone respects and adores- just to name a few. 

With that, we see the interpersonal relationships between each teacher and, hilariously, Principal Ava; as well as each teacher in their classrooms with their students.  

The show displays the various times that the teachers find ways to benefit their students.  

In Season 2 Episode 17: “Mural Arts,” we see Barbara and Melissa fighting against the imposing “Legendary Charter,” which is looking to transform Abbott Elementary, an inner city school with limited funding, into a charter school.  

At first, Ava thinks a charter school would be good, as they come with set curriculums and more funding. However, Melissa argues that charter schools control how a teacher even speaks in the classroom.  

By the end of an episode, a distraught parent comes to Ava, Melissa, and Barbara saying her son needs to re-enroll back in Abbott as a result of being kicked out of his charter for low grades. Barbara points out that charters don’t see students as students, but as scores.  

It’s the teachers, such as Melissa and Barbara, who work to benefit their students.  

Schools right now are in political turmoil, mostly brought on by people that haven’t been in school for decades. It is shameful to see the lack of compassion that teachers receive when they act not just as educators, but as parents and providers as well.  

Teachers are the backbone of society. They keep society progressing as they bring up the new generation. 

Abbott Elementary does not glorify, but adds more understanding to the lives of teachers. I see both of my parents with different characteristics in the show 

While not every teacher gets it right- and not every educational strategy is the most effective- Abbott Elementary is the show to watch, providing not only light-hearted comedic value, but a fantastic educational experience about primary education itself.  

Genesis is a second-year journalism major and an Africology minor at Temple University. Originally hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Genesis mostly analyzes and brings awareness to social issues. When she's not focusing on school and writing, she likes to explore the different nuances of international cultures, whether through traveling or through her love of KPOP and Spanish Netflix series. She hopes to travel the world and write all about it!