McKinley High School's Spanish teacher Will Schuester takes over "New Directions," the school's Glee Club, in hopes of restoring it to its former glory. His motley Glee crew consists of Rachel Berry, the overly ambitious and talented singer who is bullied by the cheerleaders ("Cheerios") and football players; Kurt Hummel, a male soprano who is also bullied; Artie Abrams, a wheelchair-bound guitar player; Mercedes Jones, a blinged-out diva who refuses to sing back-up; and Tina Cohen-Chang, an Asian-American goth with a speech impediment. They can't even get in sync, let alone consider the dream of competing in Regionals and Nationals.
Hoping to attract more members, Will recruits Finn Hudson by blackmailing him with detention. Finn, the star quarterback of the football team with a secret passion for singing, risks alienation from his popular girlfriend, Cheerio Quinn Fabray and football teammate Noah "Puck" Puckerman for his participation in Glee.
With moral support from friend and fellow colleague Emma Pillsbury and despite threats from "Cheerios" head Sue Sylvester, Will starts to get his Glee Club on track. Yet when his wife Terri finds out she is pregnant, Will is pressured to quit teaching and take on a better-paying job. The Glee Club vows to go on, and they work together to stage a number without a director. When Will sees them perform, he knows he has to come back to school and Glee. "It would kill me to watch you win Nationals without me," he says.