Maths Teacher Helps Struggling Student Through Her Window In South Dakota

by : Emily Brown on : 01 Apr 2020 09:18
Maths Teacher Helps Struggling Student Through Her Window In South DakotaMaths Teacher Helps Struggling Student Through Her Window In South DakotaJosh Anderson/Twitter

A maths teacher went the extra mile to help a struggling student while social distancing by setting up a whiteboard outside her window. 

Like many students across the globe, 12-year-old Rylee Anderson, from Madison, South Dakota, is currently taking part in remote learning, due to schools shutting down to stem the spread of coronavirus.

As she is not able to simply put her hand up and ask her teacher for help when she needs it, Rylee decided to email her maths teacher Chris Waba, for advice on the algebra concept of graphing a function.

Maths on chalkboardMaths on chalkboardPIxabay

Speaking to CNN, Rylee explained she’d asked her mum for help in the past, but her mum ‘got all the questions wrong’. Though she could have attempted to ask her parents again, they weren’t home when she found herself stuck on this particular problem.

Chris responded to the email to offer his help, but he could tell Rylee was ‘still struggling with the lesson’. Knowing she lived right across the street, he decided to grab a whiteboard and marker pen and head to her house to explain things properly.

The kind-hearted teacher set up his makeshift classroom on the front porch of Rylee’s house, while the student watched through the window to ensure they were sticking to good social distancing measures.

Maths teacher helps student through her windowMaths teacher helps student through her windowJosh Anderson/Twitter

Chris spent 10 minutes working through three maths problems as Rylee took notes and followed along.

Speaking about the success of the one-on-one lesson, Rylee said:

He made it easier to understand. I appreciated him coming over.


Rylee’s dad, Josh, took a picture of the heartwarming scene and shared it on Twitter, where it has since been liked and shared hundreds of times.

Alongside the image, he wrote:

My 6th grader emailed her math teacher for some help, so he came over & worked through the problem with her on our front porch. @Chriswaba9, our neighbor, [Madison Middle School] teacher & [Madison High School] Wrestling Coach.


Josh told CNN:

The picture just shows the length that which teachers will go to help their students at any cost during these times. [sic]

Chris, who has been teaching at Madison Middle School for 27 years, said the decision to give Rylee her own maths lesson was spur-of-the-moment.

He explained:


I’m a better communicator face-to-face than [on] the telephone and I think students learn better that way.

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.


Chris’ efforts paid off, and by the end of their lesson the teacher knew Rylee finally understood the concept because she smiled and thanked him.

He added:

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

While I’m sure her parents tried their best, I can imagine Rylee was grateful to know she’d got the right solution to her maths problems this time. What a great teacher.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, Madison, maths, Schools, South Dakota, Teacher, Teaching


Josh Anderson/Twitter and 1 other
  1. Josh Anderson/Twitter


  2. CNN

    Math teacher shows up at student's front porch to give her a one-on-one lesson while social distancing