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Math Teacher Shows Up On Struggling Student's Porch For One-On-One Lesson

A South Dakota teacher is being praised for going above and beyond the call of duty when one of his students reached out to him for help.

As CNN reported, sixth grade math teacher Mr. Chris Waba personally showed up on the struggling student's front porch with a whiteboard in hand, ready to teach while still maintaining a safe social distance.

In response to the ongoing pandemic spreading through the country, schools have switched to virtual learning to keep kids safe at home.

Unsplash | Feliphe Schiarolli

This means that teachers must now conduct entire lessons via webcam, and must trust that their audience of students will be able to keep up and continue learning through this new online "classroom" format.

For more straightforward subjects like English and history, virtual learning is probably pretty painless. But when it comes to other subjects like math and science, the inability to sit down one-on-one with students and help them through a problem could prove... well, problematic.

12-year-old Rylee Anderson recently found herself struggling to graph a function.

The sixth grade student tried reaching out to her parents for help but found that they were basically just as lost on the algebraic concept as she was.

Plus, they aren't home during the day to help her try and work through the problem.

Her teacher, Mr. Waba, tried to help Rylee online, but found it difficult to teach her the concept without being there in person.

"We had really tried to work through it digitally, but you can just tell when you need to do something else," he told Good Morning America.

So, he decided to change his approach: "I had the whiteboard that I brought home, and I just said, 'I’ll be over in a couple of minutes.'"

True to his word, Waba showed up on Rylee's front porch with his whiteboard and spent 10 minutes walking her through the problem.

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In a photo captured by the student's dad, Josh, you can clearly see Waba squatting outside of the family's glass door with several equations written out on his portable white board while Rylee stands inside, taking notes.

"He made it easier to understand," she told CNN. "I appreciated him coming over."

As it turns out, Waba is a close friend of the Anderson family and also just so happens to be their neighbor.

"He’s just a really good teacher and really good person," Josh told GMA. "[Rylee] was shocked he came over, but she was happy to get it done and over with because she was very frustrated to not have the answers or the help that she needed."

His photo of the pair's impromptu one-on-one porch lesson was posted to Twitter where it quickly went viral.

In the comments, users are praising Waba for going the extra mile for his student, and for maintaining social distancing regulations while doing it.

"Fantastic," this person wrote. "Proud of our teachers."

Another added, "Teacher of the year!"

Waba, who's been teaching for 27 years, said teachers, just like students, are struggling to adjust to the switch to virtual learning.

"When teachers go into the business, it’s because they like to teach and be around the kids," he told GMA. "For us now to turn into a virtual classroom, probably the biggest love of what our job is about isn’t our job anymore."

He added, "It’s not the same as being in the classroom and interacting with class."

At the end of their lesson, Waba said he knew Rylee had finally grasped the difficult concept.

Josh Anderson via CNN

Before he left, he said she smiled and thanked him for personally coming over to help her out.

"That's what teachers are looking for, those smiles," he told CNN. "That's the joy of being a teacher and that's what we do it for."

h/t: Good Morning America, CNN

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