First Grade Teacher Goes Above and Beyond by Reading to 'Sad' Student Outside Her Home amid Pandemic

So on April 3, that’s exactly what she did. While Hannah was having a picnic out front with her mom and brother, Ricca surprised her student by pulling up in her car outside her home.

“She just looked at me with disbelief, like she couldn’t believe I was there,” recalls Ricca, who made sure to sit six feet apart from her student to honor social distancing mandates as they chatted about Hannah’s feelings.

“At first, I asked how she was doing and she said, ‘Happy,’ but she later told me that she was feeling sad,” she explains. “I told her that I’m sad too. We talked a little about how feelings are important and that it’s okay to feel sad. I told her some things that make me feel better and reminded her I’m always here if she needs me.”

Then, the duo read some “silly books” in an effort to cheer Hannah up — a sweet moment that was captured in a photo by Kelley and eventually shared on Facebook. It has since gone viral, with over 21,000 shares and 11,000 reactions.

For Kelley, she says the gesture meant more to her than Ricca, who’s been teaching at NBH for three years, could ever understand.

“It shows me that our teachers really do care about our kids,” she explains. “It reminds me that it takes a village to raise children and our teachers are a vital part of our village.”

“This whole season is hard and frustrating and scary, but as long as we take the time to look after one another, we’ll get through it,” she continues. “If something’s wrong, say so. If you see someone struggling, reach out. Take care of each other.”

And though Kelley never got to the bottom of what exactly made Hannah so upset, she gives a lot of credit to her 7-year-old for being so honest with her feelings.

“She never did tell me why she felt sad. All she said was, ‘I just really feel sad and I don’t know why,'” Kelley shares. “Looking back, I realize how big of a thing it was for a 7-year-old to admit.”

As for Ricca, she wants parents to remember that everyone is in the same boat and that teachers are here to make this unfamiliar process run smoother.

“This has been a difficult transition for all of us, … Our new normal is exhausting,” she shares. “I told my parents the first day: if your child gets lunch, you’ve done a great job. I don’t want them to stress out over teaching [at home]. That’s what I am here for.”

“The most meaningful part of remote learning has been afternoons together. I love seeing my students and getting to hear about their days,” she continues. “We’re not just distance-learning, we’re distance-loving.”

As of Monday, there have been at least 776,384 cases and 37,532 deaths attributed to coronavirus in the United States, according to the New York Times. In Florida, there have been at least 26,652 cases and 788 deaths reported, according to the Times.

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