Teacher Takes Problematic Student under Her Care

Category: Education/Family


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. take (someone) under (one’s) wing / teɪk ˈʌn dər wɪŋ / (idiom) – to become a person’s guardian or protector

    I took the new kid under my wing after I learned that he was being bullied.

  2. on the brink of / ɒn ðə brɪŋk ʌv / (idiom) – about to do a certain action

    She was on the brink of resigning from her job after experiencing several health issues.

  3. warm up to (someone/something) / wɔrm ʌp tu / (idiom) – to begin to feel comfortable with someone or something

    The teacher was very happy when her shy student finally warmed up to her.

  4. pacify / ˈpæs əˌfaɪ / (v) – to calm someone

    The nurse pacified the crying toddler by giving him a toy to play with.

  5. custody / ˈkʌs tə di / (n) – the legal right to put a child under one’s care

    The woman was granted custody of her nephew.


Read the text below.

A 26-year-old teacher has taken a delinquent student under her wing.

Chelsea Haley met 12-year-old Jerome Robinson in 2013 during a teaching stint at Teach for America—an organization that aids low-profit schools. A problematic student, Robinson grew up in an impoverished household with his mother, younger brother, and grandparents. The family was then confronted with the death of two loved ones. These experiences led to Robinson’s misbehavior, which Haley had to put up with. Because of this, Haley was on the brink of quitting her job.

But despite the difficulties that Robinson put Haley through, the two eventually warmed up to each other. In fact, she was the only one who could pacify the student. When Haley’s contract with Teach for America ended, the organization convinced her to stay so she could continue looking after Robinson.

The teacher’s fondness for Robinson encouraged her to adopt him and his brother. After having a word with the boys’ family, Haley finally took the boys under her care. In December 2015, she received full custody after meeting the qualifications to become the children’s legal guardian.

Haley proudly shared that Robinson—who used to face several suspensions and get low marks—now excels in class. He even made it to the honor roll during the first half of his eighth grade.

Like Haley, English teacher Bennie Berry also volunteered to adopt her 16-year-old student, Anthony, who was under foster care since he was nine years old. Although Berry had reservations about the adoption, she is grateful for the experience. Through Anthony, she was able to feel what it is like to become a real mother.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Up to what extent can teachers intervene in a student’s personal life?
• In what ways can students create an impact on their teachers’ lives?

Discussion B

• How can a student’s bad behavior affect his/her performance in school?
• What are the effective ways to address a student’s bad behavior?