Like CB, I am a huge fan of Abbott Elementary. I knew I was going to love it before it aired and it hasn’t disappointed. Everything about it works: the writing, the cast, the humor, the politics. And the heart of the show is its creator, Quinta Brunson. Quinta named the show after her sixth grade teacher who brought her out of her shell. Quinta said Ms. Joyce Abbott made such an impact that she’s never forgotten her. While talking about the show on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy asked Quinta when the last time was that she saw Ms. Abbott. Quinta said “probably in the sixth grade,” but that she had spoken to her recently. That’s when Jimmy suggested they speak with her again and brought Ms. Abbott up on camera. Both Ms. Abbott and Quinta were so excited to see each other. I’ve posted the clip below, but here’s ET’s write-up.
The real-life teacher recalled the moment she found out that the show’s fictional school and title had been named after her, sharing that she had been watching the news when they revealed Brunson’s inspiration.
“It was confirmed one night when I was watching 6abc news,” Ms. Abbott said. “They were talking about the Abbott Elementary show shortly after the pilot. The newscaster said, ‘Ms. Abbott, if you’re watching, Quinta would like to reconnect with you.’ I was like ‘Oh my god!'”
The teacher also shared stories of having Brunson as a pupil, saying she was “very driven at that time” and that the Black Lady Sketch Show alum grew out of her shell to become “our class spokesperson.”
You’ll notice a lack of quotes form Quinta in the excerpt. That’s because all Quinta could do was cry. Ms. Abbott cried too. The first thing she said to Quinta was how proud of she was of her. My gawd, that means so much coming from a respected teacher. If you read Quinta’s LA Times article about why Ms. Abbott inspired her it’s easy to understand Quinta’s admiration for her. She went so far above and beyond for her students. Quinta’s own mom was a Kindergarten teacher. So when Quinta went to sixth grade, she left the comfort of her mom’s school for the uncertainty of middle school. That’s part of why Ms. Abbott’s nurturing meant so much to Quinta, it came at just the right time. A wonderful teacher can stay with you for a lifetime.
As we’ve mentioned before, CB, Kaiser and I are all public-school teacher kids. CB doubly so, both her parents taught. My mom was a Ms. Abbott to many. I hear it all the time and in the most random ways. Someone mentioned it in a review once, “and bonus – I learned the author is the daughter of my favorite teacher!” An attorney’s email: “ps – say hi to your mom for me. She’s still my favorite teacher.” And my mom cries every time, too. She remembers everyone of those kids. So, I completely understand why Quinta would dedicate such a love letter to a teacher who did so much for her. As I said above, everything about that show feels right. And many agree. The Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution to celebrate Quinta for lifting up educators. Plus, ABC partnered with Scholastic to bring supplies to schools in conjunction with the show’s promotion. Quinta just continues to make her teacher proud. Ms. Abbott can retire in peace, which she announced she was doing after 30 years of teaching. So Jimmy gave her a five day, all-expenses paid vacation for her and a friend. Ah, see, now I’m crying.
Jimmy surprises @QuintaBrunson with the 6th grade teacher she named #AbbottElementary after! pic.twitter.com/Z7vZXanZqL
— Jimmy Kimmel Live (@JimmyKimmelLive) February 2, 2022
All teachers right now watching #AbbottElementary who feel seen. pic.twitter.com/x40O9sxcOt
— Miss E7000 (@GirlzRunThis) December 8, 2021