Saturday, February 10, 2018

What to do with the worst kid in class

Chelsea Haley graduated from the University of Georgia and joined Teach for America to help low-income kids. But she almost quit teaching at a school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, because of  one difficult student, 12-yer-old Jerome Robinson. He had a rough family life and was failing every subject and constantly got suspended. Eventually Chelsea got through to him, and she was the only teacher he'd listen to. In 2015, she was ready to return to Georgia, but stayed one more year because Jerome needed her.

That was the year Jerome asked if he could live with her. Then his mother asked too. They all had dinner together, and when Chelsea said she was moving, Jerome's mom asked her to take him along, and also his 18-month-old brother Jace. Chelsea was only 24 at the time, but she adopted them both, and used money from her retirement account for a downpayment on a house near Atlanta. Did her unselfishness make a difference? Jerome is in 8th grade now, and instead of failing, he's on the honor roll.

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