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11 Things Abbott Elementary Gets Right

DonorsChoose teachers tell us exactly what Abbott Elementary gets right about being a public school teacher.


Our community of teachers is loving ABC’s Emmy-award winning Abbott Elementary. This critically-acclaimed (and hilarious) show explores life at a fictional Philadelphia elementary school. Since its pilot episode, educators have been stunned by how accurately the show captures the highs and lows of teaching in the U.S. public school system. We asked DonorsChoose teachers what the show gets right — here’s what they said:

🚨Spoiler Alert🚨If you aren’t caught up, what are you waiting for? Stop everything and watch right now!

1. If you’re a teacher, your students will definitely think you’re corny

As an adult, you might be the life of the party in your group, but the moment you become a teacher, your students will see you as O.L.D.! There’s no way to avoid it; making students cringe is part of the job description. You might not have done a silly performance like when Jacob joined the improv group, Story Samurai, on stage. But, chances are you’ve done something a bit corny.

2. Teachers have to figure out creative ways to get the supplies they need 

Abbott Elementary shows how teachers go to unusual lengths to get the get the supplies and materials they need from Melissa calling in a favor to get that Eagles branded carpet, to when Janine used TikTok to ask for supplies during Wishlist Week. This show demonstrates what every DonorsChoose teacher knows — to make amazing classrooms, the community needs to get involved! 

3. When students have teachers that look like them, it matters

Having positive role models and representation in the classroom is so important! When Gregory’s students draw pictures of him, he initially doesn’t think much of it. But Janine tells him that his students must really love having him as a teacher.  While the show hasn’t gone into great depth about the impact of Black male teachers (yet!), we can see it in the students’ appreciation for Gregory.

4. Teachers have to find time when there’s no time

These days, we all feel like we need more time, but no one needs more time than teachers!  When first-year teacher Gregory planned out every single moment of his schedule so he could try to meet the demands of a new and robust curriculum, teachers all across the country felt seen.

5. Teacher salaries are too low

When Janine finds herself struggling to pay rent, she tries lots of outrageous ways to figure out how to avoid eviction. While this episode is one of the funniest so far, it also showcases a hard truth: Teachers’ salaries often aren’t enough to sustain regular living expenses. 

6. Communicating with parents can be difficult

A big part of every teacher’s job is to make sure they provide updates and feedback to parents and guardians. In one episode, Gregory struggles to tell a parent why her child needs to be dropped off at school on time. While it was a frustrating conversation for him, it was one of those crucial small moments between teachers and parents that keep kids learning. 

7. Setting boundaries doesn’t mean teachers don’t love their jobs

Over the past few years, teachers have received criticism from those who don’t have school or classroom experience. But veteran educators know: Teaching is a marathon, and the know how to protect personal time to recharge. 

8. Working with students is the most rewarding experience 

One of the best feelings for teachers is getting to know their students and watching them learn new things. In one episode, we even get to see Barbara run into a former student and see how much they’ve grown.

9. Classroom management styles can be tricky to navigate 

At some point, every teacher has to figure out how to address or correct inappropriate behavior in class. When Gregory sends one of his students to the principal's office, he’s annoyed that Ava doesn’t discipline them. After a helpful conversation with Barbara, Gregory adjusts his approach for getting the student to stay focused in class. 

10. Support from other teachers and school staff makes a world of difference

Throughout the show, the teachers and staff at Abbott Elementary work together to create the best experience they can for the students. Whether it’s the teachers helping each other solve problems or Mr. Johnson and Ava stepping in to watch a class, everyone leans on one another. 

11. In spite of challenges, teachers show up and do their best 

Whether it’s finding the right type of desk for a student using a wheelchair, or taking on an extra grade level, teachers go above and beyond for their students every day. 

This holiday season, warm a local teacher’s heart! Find your local “Abbott Elementary” and support a classroom

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