It is never easy to raise a child while you’re an active college student. You want to earn a degree in order to find a good job, but you have responsibilities as a parent. It’s difficult to divide your time. In September 2019, a biology professor, Ramata Sissoko Cissé, volunteered to hold her student’s baby during a three-hour lecture so her student could take notes. The random act of kindness went viral on social media, inspiring others to lend a helping hand in times of need.
Bringing Her Baby To Class
Cissé, an assistant professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, Georgia, isn’t used to receiving phone calls from her students. However, the night before an important anatomy lecture, the professor received a phone call from her student, who was raising her young son while still attending classes to earn her degree.
The student told Cissé that her babysitter was sick. She asked for permission if she could bring her son to class. Cissé, a mother of three, gave her the green light. She remarked, “For her to trust me made me feel like I had to help. It’s like a moral responsibility.”
However, during the lecture, the baby was fussy. He kept moving around, and the student wasn’t able to write down any notes from the lesson. Instead, she was too busy holding her son. Finally, Cissé said to the student, “Hand me the baby.” She was going to hold him so her student could take notes.
Improvising The Lecture
It didn’t take long for Cissé to realize she couldn’t hold the baby in her arms while writing on the whiteboard. She had to improvise her lecture. So, she found a white lab coat and tied the baby around her back. The boy fell asleep and remained quiet for the rest of the lecture.
Cissé even used the baby as an example for her lecture, elaborating on concepts relating to the nervous system, brain function, and metabolism. When a student asked how the baby was staying quiet for so long, the professor explained that he was cozy and warm with her body temperature next to him. The matching heat made it easier for the fussy baby to calm down.
Then, when the baby was hungry, Cissé explained that warming up his cold milk would help with his body’s metabolism. Cissé probably didn’t anticipate incorporating a baby into her anatomy lecture, but that’s the testament of a talented professor—being able to improvise at a moment’s notice.
A Compassionate Classroom
After the class, Cissé’s student e-mailed her to thank her for her kindness. The professor wrote back, “You’re welcome, I’ll always be there for you.” Cissé wants her students to know that she supports them—no matter what they have going on outside the classroom.
“Love and compassion are part of the philosophy of my classroom,” she said. Through her teaching, she hopes she demonstrates that you can be a caring, generous individual—whether you’re a teacher, nurse, doctor, or another profession. These are skills you can’t find in a textbook. “I’m hoping they (her students) can spread love, take it to other people who need it.”
Following the class, Cissé’s daughter, @AnnaKhadejah, shared a photo of her mother giving the lecture on Twitter. She wrote, “My mom is my role model. I’m so blessed to be raised by a woman who loves the world as much as her own children.” Since September 2019, the tweet has garnered 58,000 likes and has been retweeted 11,200 times. Many of the replies were from Cissé’s current and former students, who were in agreement that Cissé is one of the best professors they ever had.
Other Twitter users commented on the viral story. For example, user (@MuffinMessage) said, “The strength as a professor is what helps students succeed. Believable blessings to you.” Another user (@chillaxRellax) shared, “This story is beyond amazing. The world is blessed to have her. She understands the struggle and knows while we all are challenged in some ways, we can unite and help each other succeed!”
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