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First grade teacher visits ‘sad’ student at home to read to her and chat on front lawn

‘I had to show her I care’: First grade teacher with five kids of her own visits a ‘sad’ student at home to cheer her up – by reading to her and chatting with her while sitting in the driveway

  • Mother-of-five Katie Ricca teaches first grade at North Bay Haven Charter Academy in Panama City, Florida
  • She has been holding Zoom classes online, as well as story time in the evenings
  • During recent story time, she noticed that seven-year-old Hannah, who is normally upbeat, seemed sad and withdrawn
  • She visited her at home, sitting six feet across from her in front of her house while reading and chatting 
  • ‘She reminded Hannah that it’s OK to get bummed out every now and then, it’s OK to chill out and it’s even OK to cry about it if we need to,’ her mom said 

A first grade teacher really went above and beyond to encourage a student who was having a hard time with school being closed.

Kelley Close’s daughter Hannah has been seeing her class on Zoom in Panama City, Florida during the pandemic, but lately the upbeat seven-year-old has been ‘sad’ and withdrawn.

Her teacher, Katie Ricca, noticed — and left her own five kids at home to pay Hannah a visit, sitting outside with the youngster on her front lawn to read her books and keep her engaged.

Devoted: Florida first grade teacher Katie Ricca sat in a student’s driveway to read to her and chat after the student became sad during the pandemic

Y'all... Seven-year-old Hannah's mom Kelley Close shared the heartwarming image on Facebook

Y’all… Seven-year-old Hannah’s mom Kelley Close shared the heartwarming image on Facebook

Katie teaches Hannah at North Bay Haven Charter Academy, and has kept busy since schools closed. In addition to regular classes, she has story time for her students every evening.

Hannah, she said, is ‘normally a very cheerful young lady,’ but lately that hasn’t been the case, and has been abnormally quiet in class.

Boundless love: Katie has five kids of her own, whom she is homeschooling, and still holds Zoom classes and story time for her regular students

Boundless love: Katie has five kids of her own, whom she is homeschooling, and still holds Zoom classes and story time for her regular students

‘She left the meeting early so I texted her mom to check in. My sweet student told her mom she was sad but didn’t know why,’ Katie told Good Morning America. 

So Katie had an idea. After talking to Kelley, she turned up at the Close household with books to pay Hannah a visit.

Katie and Hannah sat out in the Close family’s driveway, six feet apart, while Katie read to Hannah and talked to her.

Hannah’s grateful mom shared a photo of the encounter on Facebook. 

‘Hannah’s class has a Zoom session each evening,’ she wrote. 

‘Last night she got really sad and kinda shut down. Today her teacher came over and hung out for a bit. They chatted, read books, and just talked. 

This woman has FIVE kids at home and STILL she sat in my driveway for an hour to make sure Hannah was okay. Y’all…’ 

'Seeing my student upset, I knew I had to show her I care. She didn't need more math practice; she needed me to show her I understood her feelings and that she wasn't alone,' she said

‘Seeing my student upset, I knew I had to show her I care. She didn’t need more math practice; she needed me to show her I understood her feelings and that she wasn’t alone,’ she said

Speaking to GMA, she added that the generous teacher read several books, talked about the chalk drawings around them, and discussed feelings. 

‘She reminded Hannah that it’s OK to get bummed out every now and then, it’s OK to chill out and it’s even OK to cry about it if we need to,’ she said. ‘She reminded Hannah that even though we’re separated, we’re all going through the same thing at the same time. 

‘With all the craziness in our world right now, these are the things I want to remember about this time.’

Kelley also pointed out that is was particularly sweet for Katie to come over given that, in addition to continuing classes with her students on Zoom, she is also homeschooling her own five children. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk