This viral Adele moment has everyone thanking their English teachers

A woman wearing a black dress and smiling into a microphone
Adele performs at Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory for the CBS special “Adele One Night Only.”
(Cliff Lipton / CBS)

ITV’s “An Audience With Adele” was a love letter to English teachers everywhere.

Filmed at the London Palladium, Sunday’s concert special saw the singer-songwriter tearfully reunite with her middle-school English teacher, whom she credited with changing her life.

In a viral clip from the telecast, actor Emma Thompson, who was in the audience, asked Adele to name “someone who supported you or ... protected you from the trials and tribulations of life and inspired you to go on.”

Without missing a beat, the “Easy on Me” hitmaker recalled an English teacher, Ms. McDonald, who influenced her to take an interest in literature and helped spark her obsession with writing.


“She also did street dance,” she told Thompson. “I was too scared to join, but ... she was so bloody cool, so engaging. And she really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us. ... She had all these gold bracelets on and gold sequins ... and so relatable and likable that I really looked forward to my English lessons.”

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On cue, the real Ms. McDonald rose from her seat and approached the stage to surprise the “30” artist, who instantly broke down in tears upon seeing her former teacher for the first time in two decades.

“Hello, my darling,” McDonald said as they embraced in front of the cheering crowd. “I’m so proud of you.”

“I didn’t know that you were coming,” a stunned Adele told her. “Hi, how are you? Oh, you look exactly the same! ... Are you still teaching?”

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After explaining that she had retired and before introducing her two children, McDonald thanked the Grammy winner for remembering her and said, “Don’t cry.” Too late.

“Mum!” Adele exclaimed, pointing at McDonald. “Mum, can you believe it?! ... Oh, now I’ve gotta get me whole face redone. ... I’ve still got all my books, you know? I’ve still got all my books from when you were my teacher.”


The star-studded audience laughed and applauded as Adele dashed off camera “to get me makeup fixed” and invited comedian Alan “Chatty Man” Carr to the stage to entertain the crowd with a silly rendition of “Make You Feel My Love.”

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The touching moment, which has amassed more than 17 million views on Twitter alone, prompted thousands of others to celebrate their own past English teachers with words of love and gratitude.

“I love celebrating English teachers,” tweeted Daily Beast reporter Ursula Perano. “My high school AP Lit/Lang teacher, Ms. Robertson, would pick my papers apart piece by piece and I am better for it. She also convinced me that billboards suck and that the word ‘awesome’ is wildly overused. May everyone have a Ms. Robertson.”

“English teachers are truly beautiful humans,” wrote poet Divya Adu. “They deserve so much. Never had a bad English teacher in my life…they just get it.”