Equal parts softhearted and industrious, the first season finds Ms. Janine Teagues entering her second year teaching at Abbott Elementary. It’s a disservice to chalk up her infectious optimism and enthusiasm for teaching second graders to a new educator’s naivete. To be clear, while she’s a golden-hearted do-gooder in the classroom, she remains well aware of the flaws inherent with public education’s financial allocation system.
Most teachers have a little Janine in their personality. I mean, who becomes a teacher because they want to make the world a worse place? Teachers like you place kindness and enthusiasm for learning at the forefront of every move they make in the classroom. We’re glad you exist.
Some may label Ms. Barbara Howard a loner, though we prefer the term “independent.” She’s taught kindergarten for years, which has given her the veteran skill set it takes to run that impossibly orderly classroom of hers. Ms. Howard knows that it’s unlikely she’ll gain access to the resources wealthier districts receive, so she makes do with the pedagogical tools she’s perfected over time.
Don’t let the tough love schtick fool you — Barbara will always lend greener teachers a helping hand. We bet the second part of that sentence describes you as a teacher. In other words, you’re generous with your time and knowledge with both your students and your colleagues.
Another new teacher at Abbott Elementary, Mr. Jacob Hill begins his classroom career propelled by sheer earnestness. He remains aware of what students and his fellow teachers face working within an underfunded system. To that extent, he knows the unjustified socioeconomic circumstances that landed everyone in such an adverse situation.
Side bar: Perhaps Mr. Hill is a little, shall we say, loose with classroom management. Hey, it's Abbott Elementary School, not Shawshank State Prison.
Since you got Jacob Hill, one thing remains clear: You care about the kids you teach. You’re aware of their struggles, and you know that teachers are there to help them navigate the trickier parts of life. Maybe you have a wee bit of awkwardness in your presentation, but rest assured that your friends and colleagues consider it unalterably charming.
For this character, the show’s writers riff on a certain archetype: the tough-talking inner-city teacher who has earned enough favors to secure the supplies her kids need. In other words, Melissa Schemmenti has connections, and you better believe she uses them.
If you’re a fan of the show, you know the scripts never whitewash the tumultuous experiences that teachers have in the classroom and at the administrative level. If you’re like Ms. Schemmenti, you recognize that reality and still manage to circumnavigate it for a more favorable reality. In spite of the hurdles that seem to grow taller every year, you do what you have to do to make sure that your students receive the education they deserve.
Ah yes, Mr. Gregory Eddie. While he was going to be Abbott Elementary’s new principal, nefarious circumstances prevented him from landing the gig. Instead, he works as a permanent substitute, a position for which every teacher we’ve met feels eternally grateful.
If you got Gregory Eddie, you don’t see setbacks; you see opportunities to help. Adaptability blended with positivity provides the perfect balance of teacherly attributes. We’re betting that combination describes your style in the classroom. In other words, you always rise to the occasion and never flinch even when the unexpected happens. You remain well aware of the fact that it is normal for unanticipated things to happen in the classroom.
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