There is a new hit show, and in just a few episodes, many Black educators love how the real lives of many of us are on full display for the world in an honest, but funny way. The new ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary,” centers around fictional Abbott Elementary located in Philadelphia. The show stars comedian Quinta Brunson who also wrote the pilot episode. Quinta knows all too well the struggle of Black educators in public school as she grew up as a teacher’s kid. Her mother was an educator for 40 years in the Philadelphia school system.
“Abbott Elementary” is based on a fictional underfunded school in the Philadelphia School District. The show follows five teachers and a principal as they navigate their daily lives as educators while trying to give their students the absolute best with the little resources they have at their disposal. The teachers are:
- Janine Teague – Second Grade Teacher
- Barbara Howard – Kindergarten Teacher
- Melissa Schemmenti – Second Grade Teacher
- Jacob Hill – History Teacher
- Gregory Eddie – Substitute Teacher
- Ava Coleman – Principal
What makes “Abbott Elementary” a hit for Black educators is some of the scenes that seem outrageous and hard to believe are real life. Anyone who has worked in an underfunded school can relate to unclogging a toilet. We can relate to asking for money from the school to buy simple supplies or the pure joy that comes from receiving a new rug. We know what it is like hiring a group of teachers one year and seeing one, maybe or only two returning to the school the second year.
Many Black educators have worked in schools where a teacher quits in the middle of the day. We have been in schools where the janitor had to cover a class. Many of us have been the young idealist teacher who tried everything, and nothing worked. However, when we looked down the hall, the veteran teacher barely said a word, and their students were all following directions. The show hits at real issues plaguing many public schools and many schools where Black educators have worked or are still working to this day.
What makes “Abbott Elementary” great, and why many of us can relate, is that despite all that was mentioned, we love our job, we love our students, and if there is a way, we will find it. All in the service of children. Even when we lose more than we win, we come back the next day with a bigger smile on our faces.
“Abbott Elementary” is the right show for right now. With all that is going on in the world around education and teachers, educators, specifically Black educators at the forefront. It makes me proud as a Black educator, and I can’t wait to go on the ride in the remaining episodes.
You can catch “Abbott Elementary” on ABC on Tuesdays, 9 ET/8 C, and it also streams on Hulu.