Middle schooler ‘shocked’ by unexpected homework help: ‘Students learn better that way’


A math teacher is going viral after surprising one of his students with some much-needed homework help.

The heartwarming saga started when, Rylee Anderson, a 12-year-old from Madison, S.Dak., was struggling with an algebra assignment, according to CNN. The sixth-grader wanted to ask her teacher for help, but, due to the current global health crisis, she’s been confined to remote learning.

So, she sent her teacher, Chris Waba, an email. But Waba had a better idea: He grabbed his whiteboard and started walking.

A few minutes later, Rylee’s doorbell rang, and there was her teacher — reading to work through the assignment.

Rylee’s father, Josh Anderson, shared a photo of the exchange on Twitter. In Anderson’s image, Waba can be seen squatting with his large whiteboard while Rylee takes notes — all while the two remain safely distanced through the front door.

Anderson, who happens to be the head football coach at Dakota State University, told Good Morning America that the behavior seemed appropriate from Waba, who he called “a really good teacher and a really good person.”

“[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,” Anderson added.

The whole exchange only lasted about 10 minutes, but by the end, Rylee understood the assignment.

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

Waba, for his part, told CNN his decision to walk over to Rylee’s house was pretty impulsive. But he added that it was fueled by an understanding of how his students learn.

“I’m a better communicator face-to-face than [on] the telephone and I think students learn better that way,” Waba said. “Teachers all across the nation have been thrown into a situation like this. I think we’re all more comfortable being in front of our classes and that’s where we’d rather be.”

The teacher added that Rylee’s satisfied reaction made the journey more than worth it.

“That’s what teachers are looking for, those smiles,” Waba told CNN. “That’s the joy of being a teacher and that’s what we do it for.”

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Originally published