• Janine’s permanent role in the school district would change Abbott Elementary’s entire premise.
  • Keeping Janine in the district would provide great growth for her character but alter the show’s focus.
  • Janine’s struggles with her career choice highlight her potential for growth outside of Abbott Elementary.



Warning! This article contains SPOILERS for Abbott Elementary season 3, episode 9

While Abbott Elementary season 3 might make Janine’s job at the school district permanent, this would alter the show’s entire premise. When Abbott Elementary debuted, the show was a mockumentary that followed the teachers employed in the eponymous underfunded Philadelphia school. Abbott Elementary’s cast of characters spent seasons 1 and 2 attempting to make the most of what their school had, but season 3 changed the show’s formula. Quinta Brunson’s Janine Teagues, the protagonist of the series, was offered a temporary fellowship at the school district. This was a chance for her to make a bigger, more systemic change.

While Abbott Elementary season 4 might split its time between the school district and the titular institution, it is currently unclear whether Janine will return to Abbott. In season 3, episode 9, “Alex,” she received an offer for a full-time role at the school district after her fellowship ends. This would be a huge career opportunity for Janine, but it would mean moving on from her teaching role. This would also mean Abbott Elementary’s entire premise would change, as the series would no longer be about one workplace and the optimistic teacher at the center of its misadventures.

Janine Staying At The District Changes Abbott Elementary Completely

The Mockumentary Originally Centered On Janine’s Role As A Teacher

When Abbott Elementary began, the show was continuing a long tradition of successful mockumentary workplace sitcoms. Janine was Abbott Elementary’s main character and her cheery attempts to keep the school afloat blended Jim’s cynicism from The Office with Leslie Knope’s irrepressible idealism from Parks and Recreation. Like Jim, Janine was worn down by dealing with a lovable but deeply incompetent superior. Like Leslie, her own relentless positivity was known to cause real problems for her coworkers and herself. Janine staying in the district would change Abbott Elementary completely since she has been the show’s audience insertion persona since the pilot.

While Janine and Gregroy’s Abbott Elementary romance is a compelling slow-burn love story, this is only one facet of what makes Brunson’s heroine the show’s lead. Janine’s struggles with attempting to impress Barbara, her slowly improving relationship with Principal Ava, and her past with her mother all show that Janine has received more focus and screen time than anyone else in the series. This is a good thing, since Janine’s mixture of wide-eyed gumption and eye-rolling derision also makes her one of the show’s most complex characters. However, it makes the prospect of her leaving Abbott for good a problem.

Abbott Elementary Season 3’s Janine Job Highlights Her Potential

Janine’s Can-do Attitude Has Seen Her Succeed In The District

Janine’s time in the district has proven she is a gifted administrator, and the mentorship she received while working there has improved her role in the show. Abbott Elementary’s new character Manny encouraged Janine’s optimism while also challenging her reliance on Barbara’s approval, allowing her to grow more mature during the fellowship. Janine’s library program was also the success that got her a full-time job offer in the district, so it is clear that her ideas are valued by her new employers. It would be a shame for her to miss out on this exciting opportunity for personal growth.

That said, the events of “Alex” proved that Janine’s absence has changed Abbott Elementary as a show. Gregory asked for Janine’s help in getting a student to start attending school again, and this storyline was clearly a way to integrate Brunson’s character into an episode despite Janine’s absence from Abbott. Janine was still present in Abbott Elementary throughout her fellowship thanks to various plot contrivances, but this could not last forever if she took a permanent role in the district. Already, trouble with a former student, a substitute’s background check, and a CPR course were used to explain Janine’s presence.

Janine Returning To Abbott May Be A Mistake

Coming Back To Her Job Could Ruin Janine’s Season 3 Arc

Quinta Brunson's Janine and Tyler James Williams' Gregory in Abbott Elementary

Abbott Elementary season 3 wouldn’t need to excuse Janine’s absence if she simply turned down the job, and “Alex” ended with her taking a day to reconsider the offer. Brunson’s heroine was affected by her former student refusing to attend school since he didn’t like his new teacher, and this could be used to justify her full-time return to Abbott. However, Janine returning to Abbott full-time wouldn’t be a good thing for her character since she achieved so much during her time in the district. In her brief fellowship, Janine acquired an ASL interpreter for Jacob’s student, and implemented a library program.

When Abbott Elementary’s Manny was talking to Janine about the difficulties of navigating the district’s bureaucracy, he got candid and admitted that he could only put up with the quagmire of the system because of how much education means to him. Janine shares this passion and has done since Abbott Elementary began. She is exactly the sort of ambitious and relentlessly positive presence that the district needs, meaning it would be genuinely sad to see her turn down a full-time role there. That said, Janine staying in the district would fundamentally shift the show’s focus away from Abbott Elementary itself.

Abbot Elementary Season 3 Should Keep Janine In The District (But Can’t)

Janine’s Job Would Change The Show’s Formula and Her Gregory Romance

Although Zach and Jacob’s Abbott Elementary breakup was sad, there is no doubt about whom the show’s main couple are. Gregory and Janine’s romance has been teased for two and a half seasons now, with the pair finally admitting that they had feelings for each other in the season 2 finale. Season 3’s premiere saw them put these feelings on pause, and Janine leaving Abbott would mean her potential relationship with Gregory would become even less likely. This would be a frustrating twist after the show spent numerous episodes, including “Alex,” focusing on the pair’s shared chemistry.

Moreover, Janine staying in the district full-time would change the premise of the show itself. As such, Janine can’t stay even though this would be great growth for her character. Abbott Elementary‘s focus on Janine only makes sense if she still works in the titular school, since the show would simply be following two divergent storylines otherwise. Even its current mockumentary premise is already strained, as there is no reason for the crew to follow a character who is no longer working at Abbott. As such, Abbott Elementary season 3 can’t keep Janine in the school district, even though that would be great for her.

Episode #

Episode Title

Release Date


“Career Day, Part 1”

February 7


“Career Day, Part 2”

February 7


“Gregory’s Garden Goofballs”

February 14



February 21



February 28


“Willard R. Abbott”

March 10



March 13



March 20



April 10


“2 Ava 2 Fest”

April 17


“Double Date”

April 24


“Mother’s Day”

May 8







Abbott Elementary Season 3 TV Series Poster

Abbott Elementary

Quinta Brunson , Tyler James Williams , Janelle James , Lisa Ann Walter , Chris Perfetti , Sheryl Lee Ralph , William Stanford Davis

Release Date
December 7, 2021


Quinta Brunson

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