More than one in five undergraduate students are parents, according to U.S. Department of Education data. That's just one reason that a new viral trend has seen moms and dads publicly praising their professors for accepting—and in many cases, even holding—their little ones in the classroom when they were stuck without childcare. Here, five recent examples of this applause-worthy trend.
1. Professor Ramata Sissoko Cissé at Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, Georgia
This month, a photo of Professor Cissé wearing a student's baby throughout a three-hour biology class went viral. The L.O.'s mom struggled to find a babysitter. Cissé's daughter tweeted the photo, writing, "My mom is my role model. her student couldn’t find a babysitter today & being the true African mother that she is, taught a THREE hour class with the baby on her back & fed him. I’m so blessed to be raised by a woman who loves the world as much as her own children."
my mom is my role model.— Annadote 💊 (@AnnaKhadejah) September 20, 2019
her student couldn’t find a babysitter today & being the true African mother that she is, taught a THREE hour class with the baby on her back & fed him.
I’m so blessed to be raised by a woman who loves the world as much as her own children. pic.twitter.com/6yuynJhuPw
- RELATED: Choosing a Babysitter
2. Dr. Julie George at the University of Texas at Tyler, Palestine campus
In April, a 22-year-old nursing student named Kate Lewis had to take a test just fourteen days after giving birth to her daughter. "I had told Dr. George jokingly that I was mad at her, because I had to leave my two-week-old baby for the first time," she told Good Morning America. "She said that she would have been happy to hold her. Well, fast forward three weeks, and she got to hold her during a test."
Lewis had been stuck without childcare, because her mom had to work, her father was out of town, and her primary babysitter had school. Making matters worse, her little one was sick on the day of the test. "Dr. George without hesitation just held and rocked my sick and fussy baby throughout the entire test," Lewis said. "Teachers like Dr. George are who making nursing school possible for all of us, but especially single moms."
3. Professor Nathan Alexander at Morehouse College, Atlanta
Back in March, a dad named Wayne Hayer didn't want to miss his algebra class ahead of midterms, but he also couldn't find care for his five-month-old daughter. After Hayer explained his situation, his professor, Nathan Alexander offered to hold baby Assata and taught the rest of the class with the baby strapped to his chest. A fellow student tweeted a photo of the moment, and it blew up.
Student came to class today with his child due to no babysitter or anybody to watch her while he was in class.— TheOriginal™ (@Original_Vaughn) March 1, 2019
My professor NATHAN ALEXANDER said “I’ll hold her so you can take good notes!” #HBCU #morehouse #Respect pic.twitter.com/oogIqetseS
- RELATED: How to Find Quality Child Care
4. Professor Bruce Johnson at Arkansas State University
In May 2018, a physical professor stepped in when one of his students had a daycare conflict. "He told her to bring her baby to a study session," explained one of his colleagues who shared a photo of the moment on Facebook. "She said, 'He cares so much about the success of his students.' Clearly."
5. Professor Henry Musoma at Texas A&M University, College Station
Back in 2017, a student and single mom named Ashton Robinson didn't think she'd be able to make it to Dr. Henry Musoma's class after her babysitter canceled at the last minute. She sent her professor an e-mail asking if she could meet with him before class. Much to her surprise, Dr. Musoma told her to bring her son to class. On Instagram, Robinson wrote, "Being a single mom is so challenging, but it's people like Dr. Henry Musoma that make life just a tiny bit easier! ... Definitely something I'll never forget and can't wait to someday tell Emmett that it's because of people like this that mommy was able to graduate from the best university in the world."
As heartwarming as it is to see professors step up to the plate for their students in this way, this trend is further proof that parents in the U.S. need more support and access to quality, affordable childcare. Let's continue to applaud professors who save the day, while pushing for reforms that will make it so they don't have to.