Quinta Brunson—the writer, producer, comedian and actor behind the breakout hit Abbott Elementary—called for higher salaries for teachers to applause at the TIME100 Gala Wednesday evening. “I play a teacher on TV, but every day I wonder if I’d be strong enough to be one in real life,” Brunson said. “You all deserve to be paid more!”

Brunson praised teachers in a brief toast at the Gala after appearing on the 2022 TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people. Brunson’s ABC show is about teachers at a Philadelphia public school. It premiered last year and garnered critical praise for highlighting public education and the uphill battle of teaching at underfunded schools—all while being refreshingly funny.

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