Georgia Gwinnett College assistant biology professor Ramata Sissoko Cissé got a call from one of her students who had a problem a couple of weeks ago.
The student couldn’t find a babysitter for her infant son and asked if it would be okay to bring the child to class.
Cissé not only agreed, but held the baby for nearly her entire three-hour lecture.
Cissé is being lauded on social media after a student posted a picture of the professor holding the baby on her back, which is done by many African mothers. Cissé, a mother of three, is from the West African nation of Mali.
Cissé’s actions were an easy, instinctive decision, she said.
“I’m teaching love (to my students),” Cissé said in a telephone interview Friday with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I’m teaching honor. I’m teaching dignity. I’m teaching respect. I take that very seriously.”
Cissé said the student sat in the back of the class and she noticed the baby was moving. The professor said she held the baby because she wanted her student to be able to take good notes. Cissé reached for a lab coat in the classroom and had the student wrap the baby to allow her to teach.
About 10 minutes later, she said, the baby fell asleep. The child woke up near the end of the class.
Cissé, who has been teaching at the college for three years, said she helped to show the student professors are willing to aid their students. The professor said other faculty members would have acted similarly.
“I don’t want (students) to give up on us,” she said. “We’re going to be there for them.”
The student thanked her professor via email the night after the class.
“I’m always going to be here for you,” Cissé said she replied.