Teachers need a lot of patience when it comes to handling disruptive students, but some students can prove too difficult to handle. A student in Louisiana who seemed to be impossible to bring in line underwent a huge transformation in both his attitude and studies thanks to his amazing teacher. His teacher shares that she had exhausted all of her ways to deal with him, and finally decided on her last resort—to spend some quality time with him.
Chelsea Haley applied to join Teach for America, a non-profit organization to “develop, and mobilize” upcoming talent, after graduating from college. Haley later secured a teaching position at an elementary school in Baton Rouge. There, she met a tough 12-year-old boy, Jerome, who ultimately changed her life after he almost made her quit teaching.
“At certain points, his behavior got so bad,” Haley told CNN. “I thought, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t be a teacher.’”
Haley had tried to help Jerome through various ways and decided to get to know him better.
“After exhausting all of my resources in the classroom, I realized the only way to reach Jerome was to get to know him and just build a relationship,” she told ABC News. “I started spending a lot of time with him outside of school, going to his football games, his basketball games, just hanging out with him at home, buying school supplies and groceries, all those kinds of things.”
And Haley discovered that Jerome is a young student who, as she described, is actually “really witty, very smart and just kind.”
“So although there were still days in the classroom when he made me want to pull my hair out, I knew that below that tough-boy exterior, there was just a little boy begging to be loved,” Haley said.
Then in October 2015, she had a dream where “God told me I would be Jerome’s mom,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
She thought the idea was ridiculous—but the next day, Jerome asked her a question.
“He just asked me if he could live with me,” Haley recalled. “I told him I had been feeling the same thing.”
When she had dinner with Jerome, his mother, and his newborn brother, Jace, the next day, his mother told Haley to take Jerome and Jace with her. Haley was soon granted full custody of the boys and she later formally adopted them.
After completing her stint in Louisiana, Haley, now 26, returned to Marietta, Georgia, with the boys, and Jerome has been performing very well in school ever since. He is now an honor-roll student.
“I don’t think there are many words to really describe just how awesome it is to celebrate all of Jerome’s achievements,” Haley said. “I think it just goes to show that he’s always had the potential, all he needed was the support and the self-confidence to be successful.
“I’m just really, really proud of him.”
As for Jerome, he knows that Haley “really believes in me,” and hopes that his story will send a message to other students.
“To never give up and to keep trying no matter what people say,” Jerome said. “You always have to believe that you can do anything.”
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