A 26-year-old teacher has described her experience of adopting one of her most troublesome students, despite the fact that he almost made her quit because of his terrible behavior.
Back in 2013, Chelsea Haley began working with a nonprofit organization called Teach For America. The group aims to help ‘strengthen the movement for educational equity and excellence’ within low-income schools.
Haley was enlisted to educate elementary students in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It was on this job that she met fourth grader Jerome Robinson – he was, without doubt, her toughest and most disorderly pupil. Indeed, his conduct was so bad that Haley even contemplated quitting.
“At certain points, his behavior got so bad, I thought, “I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be a teacher,”’ she told CNN.
Robinson and his baby brother, Jace, were living with his grandparents. Their mother was only around part of the time. The family lived in poverty and was faced with an uphill struggle following the death of two other family members.
Jerome struggled academically and was uncontrollable in the classroom. Over time, Haley developed a reputation for being the only teacher with the ability to control this challenging young man. “I got a lot of thankful emails and knocks on my door,” Haley explained of her conversations with fellow teachers.
By the time Haley had completed her two-year placement, she detailed how her and Robinson had formed an “unlikely bond.”
After the principle suggested Haley “stick around” for Jerome, the compassionate teacher began to experience vivid dreams that “God was telling her she was destined to be” his mother.
The next day, something absolutely extraordinary happened. Robinson stopped his work to ask Haley a question.
“He just asked me if he could live with me,” Haley said. “I told him I had been feeling the same.”
The following day, Haley met with boys’ mother. When the teacher told the mom that she was due to head over to Georgia to continue her teaching career, the mothers’ response shocked her.
“You can go… but I want you to take Jerome and Jace with you,” she said.
In December 2015, Haley met all the required guidelines required to become their legal guardian. She was granted full-time custody and successfully adopted both boys.
The unlikely family now resides in Marietta, Georgia, and is going from strength to strength.
“I wouldn’t trade this for anything,” Haley insisted. Amazingly, Jerome is now getting A-grades in all his classes. “He used to fail all of his classes and didn’t care… now, he’s made honor roll both quarters of his eighth grade year so far,” she said.
“Jerome’s Quarter 3 Progress Grades: PE 100, HS Art 94, Science 91, HS Business 92, Math 90, English/Language Arts 80 and Social Studies 101,” the proud mom wrote on Facebook.
“I think the kid is serious about wanting a scholarship to college one day!” Haley added.