College is already a challenge, but the added pressure of taking care of a child can make it an overwhelming experience. Professor Ramata Sissoko Cissé recognized this and found a way to take a load off one of her students.
Cissé is an assistant Biology for Anatomy and Physiology professor at Georgia Gwinnett College. The night before an important 8 a.m. class, one of her students reached out to ask for help.
"She asked if she could bring the baby with her to class because she had missed a class already and did not want to be behind. ...I know the student is very smart and ambitious. She really wanted to learn," Cissé said to Yahoo.
Cissé told the student to bring her child to the lecture and that they would "figure it out" together. But when Cissé saw her pupil couldn't balance taking notes and soothing the infant her "mother instincts" started to tingle.
"I knew I could make it easy for her not only to concentrate but also to take notes with ease," Cissé said while explaining how she decided to hold the student's baby and teach the class. "In my native Mali, we used sheets and other pieces of fabric to securely carry babies on our backs. My natural instinct was to find a way to secure the baby and I was standing next to a rack with a clean lab coat."
After being safely secured to Cissé's back, the baby slept for the rest of the three-hour class. "Towards the end, he woke up and I took him off my back, sat in the first row and fed him with a bottle. He did not cry once," Cissé said. Later that day, Cissé's daughter tweeted out a picture of her mother teaching with the baby on her back. The tweet went viral, but Cissé didn't do it for the attention.
"My decision to help out this student was driven by the school culture with a student’s success being foremost. We do all we can for the student to be successful," the professor said. "I did not want to see her struggling, because as a mother, I know how hard it could be."
Not too far from the Georgia Gwinnett College campus, a professor at Morehouse College also went the extra mile. In March, Dr. Nathan Alexander held a student's baby during a math lecture so the student could focus. Like Cissé, Alexander's dedication to his students went viral.