Abbott Elementary (2021) s01e01 Episode Script


JANINE: Oh, Nina, excellent sentence structure.
Let me see.
"My favorite movie is 'Toy Story, ' and my favorite character is Woody.
" Good.
Mine too.
Well, more of a Buzz girl.
I love his ambition.
- Right, guys? - CHILD: Yeah.
Okay, let's see.
Uh, Brittany.
"My favorite movie is 'American Gangster.
' - Yep.
- And my favorite character is Frank Lucas.
" Okay.
That is a great sentence.
And I will be having a third talk with your mom about what you're watching at home.
Ow! Ms.
Teagues, Andrew hit me! Andrew, apologize.
1 2 3 4.
I'm Janine Teagues.
I've been teaching second grade here at Abbott Elementary for a year now.
89 And as a product of the Philadelphia school system, I'm proud to say I survived and now teach here today.
Alright, guys, so, there have been three presidents since this one, okay? It's an old book, so here's where I taped in the others.
I'd say the main problem in this school district is, yeah, no money.
Uh, the city says there isn't any, but they're doing a multimillion-dollar renovation to the Eagles' stadium down the street from here.
But we just make do.
I mean, the staff here is incredible.
They're all amazing teachers.
I really look up to them all.
- Please, sit down! Why?! Well, I look up to the older ones.
We younger teachers are still getting the hang of it if we don't end up leaving.
Look, I know this school is rough, but I became a teacher to make sure students come out alive.
And after learning a lot in my first year, I finally feel on top of things.
Jamal, what are you doing? I had to go, and the toilets don't work.
And the rug was Plan B?! [MAKER'S "HOLD'EM" PLAYS.]
Janine, why are you putting that rug away? Erica, I told you to call me Ms.
I'm an adult, though we are almost the same height.
And there's a little bit too much pee on it.
Mm! Yeah, but where do we sit for story time? [SIGHS.]
I will figure something out, okay? Losing the rug is a big deal.
For primary classes, rugs are like a calming space for the kids.
It's like a Xanax.
Like a huge Xanax for kids to sit on.
Turn that down, please! I'm trying to teach my kindergartners the letter "C," and they are distracted by this song.
It's like "Back That Azz Up" for kids.
Hey, guys, um, could you sit down, please? Guys, I'm gonna count to 3.
1 2 And I am not counting.
Sit down! [MUSIC STOPS.]
I'm Barbara Howard, woman of God.
I do my work, I go home.
I get my nails done every week.
And I love teaching.
That is incredible, Ms.
I can't wait to get on that level.
Where is your class, by the way? Out in the hallway in a single file.
- Really? - Mm-hmm.
KINDERGARTNERS: Good morning, Ms.
Teagues! You know, Ms.
Howard, you remind me so much of my favorite teacher from the third grade, Ms.
She was well-dressed, good with kids, a wizard with a glue gun - Thank you, Janine.
- That is very kind of you.
Yeah, I-I wanted to be just like her, actually.
I was, like, obsessed with her.
She wrote in my report card note, "Needs friends her own age.
A bit clingy.
" - She was a hoot.
- Yes.
Anyway, hey, did you get my e-mail about the two of us hanging together after school or No.
It must have gone to spam.
It's so crazy how my e-mails do that with you and nobody else.
Uh Class, turn around.
Bye, Mom I'm sorry.
Bye, Ms.
Janine, Janine, you're not gonna believe this.
Rachel freakin' Maddow just retweeted me.
- Wow! - So I basically work for MSNBC.
I'm Jacob Hill.
Uh, I like to say I teach history, but I live in the present.
Jacob and I came in together last year with 20 other teachers.
We're two of the three left.
So trauma bonding, I guess? Hey, do you want cheese steaks from the corner store for lunch today? Uh, not not from there.
The guy behind the counter, he calls me "white boy.
" Well, it's like a term of endearment, and, like, if you don't like it, just ask him to stop.
No way.
There's an entire chapter in "White Fragility" on that, okay? Robin DiAngelo, she says, "When you start policing people who have" Hey, Melissa, can you please tell "Ta-Nehisi Quotes" here that "white boy" is a term of endearment from the corner-store people? For Zach Ertz, yeah.
For him, it's an insult.
Hmm? Uh Melissa.
Second-grade teacher.
What's half of 100? CHILDREN: 50! Also, $100, known as a C-note.
You Sicilian? Italian? You from South? Okay, you guys working with the cops? 'Cause you gotta tell me.
Whew! Guys, I need a new rug.
Mine is officially done.
Mmm! Me too.
I shook mine out, and all of the asthma kids had to go to the nurse's office.
Yeah, mine's busted.
And you can't class up a rug like you can a couch with a nice coat of plastic.
Hey-yo! What it do, baby-boos? What y'all think about this little film crew I brought in here? Distracting, makes our jobs harder.
But exciting.
We about to be on TV.
Because they are covering underfunded, poorly managed public schools in America.
No press is bad press, Barb.
Look at Mel Gibson.
Still thriving.
"Daddy's Home 2"? Hilarious! JANINE: Ava's our principal.
She has a unique take on her job.
She's bad at her job.
What's unique is that she's bad at her job.
There you are.
Ava, can I talk to you? Uh, I need an aide.
I'm outnumbered in there.
The kids are crazy.
One of them told me to mind my six this morning.
I don't know what that means, and I need help.
Calm down.
They're just kids.
And, besides, aides cost money, and we don't have that.
- Right, but I just - Do you want to split your salary - with somebody else? - No.
No, no.
I didn't think so.
Well, if we can't get aides, maybe we can get new rugs? All I'm hearing is, "New, new, new, need, need, need.
" And, yet, Barb, one of our best and most senior teachers here, she never complains.
What is your secret, Barb? Knowing there's not much you can do, Ava.
So understanding.
Be like Ms.
Howard, people.
But I'm not Ms.
Oh! Tina, look, just try some counting exercises.
Somewhere between 1 and 40, the kids calm down.
Uh Oh.
You know, a little support might help make things happen, ladies.
My support was gonna do about as much as that five-year-old bra you've got on right there.
Hey, it's not impossible to get things.
Melissa asked for those new toy cash registers for her classroom and got them.
Yeah, those aren't toys.
I know a guy who worked a Walmart demolition.
I got a guy for everything.
I know a guy right now working the stadium build.
- Need rebar? - No.
Melissa is resourceful, capable.
Well, I think the younger teachers are capable.
Really? Then why is it that Ms.
Schwartz's hair is falling out? Why does Jacob here need a smoking break every five minutes? I switched to an herbal vape.
And why can't any of you stick it out longer than two years? More turnovers than a bakery.
You know what? Hell, I think we should still try for rugs.
You know, before I taught here, I was in Zimbabwe.
I was doing Teachers Without Borders, - and what I learned - Jacob, what did I say about, like, not talking about your time in Africa? You You told me to I told you to stop.
Yeah, it's weird.
The new-teacher track record here isn't great, but, ultimately, we are passionate and capable of doing this job.
Janine, Ms.
Schwartz just kicked Rajon, and everyone's in the hallway going crazy.
Alright, alright.
Calm down.
- Calm down.
- What happened? - He hit me first! - Liar! I'm a liar?! I'm the liar?! Okay, aspetta.
Calm it down.
I wonder if she tried counting.
JACOB: Alright, let's get you to the nurse.
You do not hit a kid.
It's like the one thing you don't do.
You could threaten them.
You can yell at them.
Threaten the parents.
Mildly embarrass them.
I threatened a grandfather once.
You just don't kick a kid.
There was the bet.
You didn't do - Okay.
- Oh.
So, not good.
Schwartz was out of line and clearly didn't know how to handle her class.
You hired her.
And fired her.
They give me a lot of power around here.
It's crazy.
In the meantime, Mr.
Johnson will be watching her class.
- Wait.
- Mr.
Johnson, the janitor? That's who runs the world, kids.
I think maybe we should alert the school district to this.
I mean, a child was harmed.
Hey! H-Harmed? I handled this.
No need to let them know that a child was harmed on my wa on the school's watch, to be clear.
Ava, this is not handled.
There is a 70-year-old custodian who voted for Kanye teaching social studies right now.
We need help.
Look, I know we don't have any money Okay! Alright, I'll make a small emergency budget request to the district, and you guys can get pencils and hire aides or whatever else you need.
- So even rugs? - Sure! Just e-mail a request.
Okay, I can I can write an e-mail.
Another day in principal life.
I believe the children are our future Yes! Hear that? - Ask and receive.
- Mm.
- I'll get you two.
- Okay.
Um hello? I'm looking for Ms.
Oh, yeah, she Hello.
I'm Gregory Eddie.
I'm the sub for the teacher who, uh punted a student.
Oh! You're the sub.
Forgive me.
I thought one of my colleagues here hired a stripper for me.
Nice to meet you, young man.
- Yeah, you too.
- Yeah, nice to meet you, Ryan.
It's Gregory.
Eh, let's see how long you'll be here.
Then I'll remember your name, okay, Tim? Yes! My dude.
Oh, yeah.
Keepin' it profesh.
I like that.
I'm Jacob.
It's nice to see another male teacher in here.
- Hmm! - There's not a lot of us.
Hey, now I got somebody to talk sports with.
You like women's tennis? Or, as I call it, you know, regular tennis.
I'm subbing here because I need a job until I can become principal.
It's what I studied for.
I actually interviewed here and got it, but then I don't know something happened.
I go to the same church as the Superintendent.
Caught him cheating on his wife with the deaconess.
I needed a job.
"Is your school sick? Try prescription rugs.
" Classic.
CHILDREN: Ewwww! Oh, my God! Bria, what happened? I threw up.
Great communication skills, Bria.
Okay, let's get you cleaned up.
I actually throw up all the time, so it's okay.
- Argh! - [SCREAMS.]
Random man! Child pants! - Security! - Oh, no! No, no, no, no, no! I'm I'm Gregory, the, uh the sub for Ms.
- Okay.
- Yeah.
But that's still not explaining the pants.
- Security! - Hold on.
Hold on.
Wait, wait, wait.
Okay, one of my kids had to go to the bathroom, so I brought him, but then he accidentally went on himself.
Oh! Okay.
And I tried to flush the toilet, and the water shot back up in the air.
- And then I'm - Oh, God.
No one told you about Reversy Toilet then? - Okay.
- No.
Why is that even a thing? I know.
I'm sorry.
Um, could you just watch her for a second? Um Hi.
- How you doing? - I threw up.
I'll be back for her, and I have some spare clothes for him in my room.
I will get him changed and then send him back to you, alright? Oh, w-wait.
What was your name? Oh.
Silly me.
I'm Janine.
So, nice to meet you.
Oh, sorry, pee.
There's vomit.
- Yeah.
- Um, make a wish.
Okay, welcome to our school.
It's okay.
Everyone pees, you know? Yeah, that was disgusting, but she seems nice.
Is that me? [SNIFFS.]
- Alright.
Remember - Good morning, Mrs.
Howard - 2 and 2 equals - ALL: 4! Yes! Sorry.
I wanted to get your expert, classy eye on my rug request e-mail to Ava.
Janine, we are not getting new rugs.
We are not getting anything.
Barbara, have some faith.
Ava literally said she'll get us whatever we need.
Janine, I have been working in the Philadelphia School District for 20 years, and Ava is just the latest in a long line of people who do absolutely nothing.
- Just do your job.
- But this is me doing my job.
I think the job means trying to make things better.
And I think the job is working with what you've got so you don't get let down.
- AVA: Good morning, teachers.
During passing, please come to the front entrance for a special announcement about some much-needed improvements to the school that I made happen.
Yes! Oh, did you hear that?! Optimism wins again! [GASPS.]
"Oh, thank you, Janine.
" No problem, Ms.
"You're doing your job so well, I see a little bit of me in you.
" You do? 'Cause I always felt we had a lot in common.
"Oh, Janine, You're so lovely " - I got a good feeling about this.
- Right? Me too.
Good morning.
Good morning.
The district was so moved by my plea that they approved the emergency budget and sent us the money right away.
Okay, we could have hired aides, we could have got rugs, but then I thought, "No.
We need something more immediate.
" Oh, no, no.
The rugs are immediate.
They're they're like instant Xanax for kids.
I explained it all in my e-mail.
- Girl, who told you to send an e-mail? - You did.
Anyway, I always feel better when I get my hair done.
Thus, I do better work, like I'm doing now.
You know, fix the outside, inside takes care of itself.
Y'all seeing this? A plastic sign? Thank God for the school district, 'cause they gave us $3,000, and I had to spend all of it.
You spent all of the money on this?! - Rush job.
- Can you believe this quality? How's that optimism taste? JANINE: This is ridiculous.
She has gone too far.
Somebody needs to do something.
I - Yes, yes.
- Somebody should do something.
You know what? I'm gonna do something.
Whatever you do, - I will cosign it.
- Yes! That is how change works someone does something, and somebody cosigns it.
Ava can't win here, because if she wins, then Barbara's right.
And if Barbara's right, then what does that say about me? I mean, am I even a Sagittarius? Hey, you two.
Wait up.
I'm going out to lunch, too.
Oh, yeah? Where you going for lunch, pip-squeak? Bird feeder? I thought you'd be working on your next miracle from Saint Ava.
Ha ha.
I don't think I'll need anything from Ava ever again.
- What does that mean? Well, I e-mailed the superintendent and told him everything that Ava has done today.
No way she doesn't get fired.
- Oh, for the love of God.
- What? The superintendent never sees our e-mails.
He has them bounced back to the person in charge of where they came from.
I'm sorry.
Person in charge? That means the e-mails go back to - [INTERCOM BEEPS.]
- AVA: Teachers, it's come to my attention that some of you one of you think it's okay to go over my head.
So during lunch break this lunch break we'll be having a trust workshop so that we can learn how to become a work family.
It's gonna be fun! We are at a crossroads.
This is a crisis.
No, a crisis is eating the cafeteria pizza for lunch.
Uh, why are we here, exactly? Well, chocolate drop, I learned that someone here doesn't respect me.
But it's not about me, 'cause if you don't respect me, how can you respect this school? You can't.
It's mathematically impossible.
Who doesn't respect you, Ava I-I mean, the school? It's not important.
We're gonna make this a group matter as to not single any one person out.
Let's try an exercise where we say whatever we want out loud to each other, no matter how critical.
It'll be fun! Let's start with Janine.
Janine? Yes? You're pushy, squeaky, and annoying.
- Excuse me? - That's just No, it's not bad.
We're sharing with the goal of making us all better.
Hershey Kiss, why don't you try? Start with Janine.
I really don't want to.
You're right.
It should be someone who knows her better.
Jacob, Barbara? - Well, her hair is - Absolutely not.
Yeah, absolutely not.
Ava, no one's doing this to anyone.
Hold on.
I came prepared for this.
Sheena, come on in.
Ava, that is my student.
She should be at lunch.
I am kind of hungry.
AVA: Sheena, remember what we talked about? What was the thing that you wish was different about Ms.
Teagues? She got some big feet.
Everyone, [SIGHS.]
that's enough.
I am the person who disrespected Ava.
I e-mailed the superintendent to tell him that she spent the school's money on a sign.
I'm sorry, Ava.
And I'm sorry everyone missed lunch, especially you, Sheena.
But I did it because I care about the kids in this school, and that shouldn't be a bad thing.
You know what? Actually, Sheena, you should have this.
- I'm so sorry.
- No, thank you.
Not a compelling speaker.
- Charisma vacuum, am I right? - You know what, Ava? - Janine is a lot of things naive, a bit clingy, too cheerful.
Oh, this is good stuff.
Let me call her back in.
But she is also right.
You know, actually wanting to help the children at this school shouldn't be a bad thing.
Mm! And where is everybody going? - To check on Janine.
- To eat lunch after I check on Janine.
Janine, ignore Ava.
Big feet are a sign of fertility.
Every lunch period, Barbara.
Every single one, Amir comes and naps on the rug.
He was in my class.
Mom's got a lot of kids.
Dad's not around, and when he is, the parents fight.
So he doesn't get much sleep.
I told him to sleep at his desk, but he says the rug is softer softer than his bed at home.
You know what? I don't care if you think I'm good at this or not anymore.
I care about whether or not I can make a change.
Janine, teachers at a school like Abbott we have to be able to do it all.
We are admin.
We are social workers.
We are therapists.
We are second parents.
Hell, sometimes, we're even first.
- MELISSA: Mm-hmm.
- Why? Heh, it sure ain't the money.
I could make more working the street easy.
Look, we do this 'cause we're supposed to.
- It's a calling.
- Mm.
You answered.
I believe it was Brother Cornel West - Don't.
Not right now.
- Don't! You want to know my secret? Do everything you can for your kids.
We'll help.
Hey, I suggest we put our money together and buy Janine the rug.
- What y'all think? - Absolutely.
Guys, you can't.
You don't have it.
I know because I have the same salary as you and I overdrafted on a doughnut hole this morning.
Well, what are you gonna do? Steal a rug? Not me, but I know a guy who knows a guy? [CELLPHONE CLACKING.]
Way ahead of you.
I'm gonna have to bake a ziti.
Hey, Tony, you big strunz, listen, you still working that stadium build? This day hasn't been easy, but it's been good, because I finally get what Barbara has been saying.
- Oh, my God.
He came.
- Go get it.
- Hello! Hi.
- Yeah! You have to find a way.
Get things done yourself.
Hey, thank you so much.
What's your name? - I got no name.
- He doesn't got a name.
Even if the way you do them is outside of the system.
You're on a mission.
It's cool to see.
Thank you.
It's just a day in the life of being a teacher here.
You get used to it.
And that smell in the walls? Oh, no, you're never gonna get used to that.
- Okay.
- So But, um, you're subbing to go full time, right? Like - Um, we'll see.
- Mm.
The job definitely surprises me.
Well, I hope you stay.
For the kids.
GREGORY: I'll stick around for a little while.
You know, for the kids.
JANINE: I provided for my students today.
That's huge.
It's all any of us want to do.
"And gave him a piece of tough ash.
But no sooner had the man fitted it into his ax-head than he quickly began to use it" I was called, I answered, and now I know, even with no help from the higher-ups and no money from the city, I can get this job done.
MAN: Alright, Step 3, you flush the toilet to empty the tank.
Now you're all set to go.
Now, remember, you got to redo Step 1 before trying to flush.
But money would still be nice, though.

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