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This Math Professor Looked After A Baby When His Student Couldn’t Find A Sitter

People are celebrating teachers after Nathan Alexander carried his student’s baby while teaching a 50-minute class.

Posted on March 2, 2019, at 8:38 p.m. ET

Nathan Alexander
Twitter/@professornaite / Via Twitter: @professornaite

Nathan Alexander

Nathan Alexander is a 34-year-old math professor at Morehouse College, an all-male historically black institution in Atlanta.

On Friday, one of his students, Wayne Hayer, was unable to find a baby sitter or arrange for someone to look after his baby girl, Assata. So Hayer brought Assata to Alexander’s class.

But before he began teaching, Alexander offered to hold Assata so that Hayer could take “better notes in class,” according to another student, Nick Vaughn, who shared the encounter on social media.

Alexander taught the entire 50-minute class while holding Assata in his arms. He continued to carry her for an additional 10 to 15 minutes after class while helping students with questions about the lecture.

Vaughn shared photos on social media, capturing the heartwarming gesture. The encounter has since gone massively viral, with people hailing Alexander as a hero.

Vaughn and Hayer didn’t return a request for an interview.

Student came to class today with his child due to no babysitter or anybody to watch her while he was in class. My professor NATHAN ALEXANDER said “I’ll hold her so you can take good notes!” #HBCU #morehouse #Respect

@Original_Vaughn / Via Twitter: @Original_Vaughn

Alexander told BuzzFeed News on Saturday that at first he was worried about looking after Assata during the lecture.

“I’m not a father, I don’t have children of my own,” Alexander said. “I was worried that she would start crying. But it actually went perfectly. She was extremely well behaved.”

Alexander said he bounced the baby up and down lightly and patted her during the lecture. He even joked about lulling her to sleep with his teaching.

“When she started falling asleep, I told the class, ‘I guess I’m being boring right now,’” Alexander said.

During office hours, Alexander said he had noticed that Hayer often had to leave to take care of his daughter. Two weeks ago, he told Hayer that he could bring his daughter with him anytime he needed to.

“Anything I can do to support you, let me know,” Alexander recalled telling the young father. “That’s what I’m here for as an educator.”

In a Facebook post, Assata’s mother, Firda Hayer, responded to the outpouring of love and support that their family was getting.

She said that she and Hayer were new parents and that her husband worked two jobs along with being a full-time student.

“With us being thousands of miles away from family and friends, I’m usually left with the baby to myself,” Firda wrote. “Anyone who is and has been a new mommy understands how overwhelming it can get. Wayne wanted to give me a break. Plus, he’d get to spend more time with Assata in the process. It’s a win-win. Thank you for encouraging us to continue to push forward. Thank you to black educators like Dr. Nathan Alexander for your compassion and understanding. This came at the right time. We plan and Allah plans; verily, Allah is the best of Planners.”

Vaughn also praised Alexander and the support that HBCU’s provide to the black community.

“It was this encounter that truly showed me the power and impact HBCU’s can have for the black community, for this professor to understand that life happens and sometimes there are just no ways around it,” Vaughn said in a Facebook post.

Hundreds of people celebrated Alexander’s gesture, including several of his students, who said he was their favorite teacher.

@professornaite @drvinceknight @Original_Vaughn @Morehouse Nicely done! Several subjects were taught in this session, it would seem.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse @professornaite is one of my favorite professors!! Genuinely cares for the students and sacrifices his personal time always to help in any way possible. ✊🏼✊🏼 nothing but respect (Ps. Sorry i wasnt in class today lol)

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse MY FAVORITE TEACHER! He saved my grade in college algebra my first semester at Morehouse. I was in another section with arguably the WORST teacher in the school, ready to drop out, but he saw I was on the edge and personally tutored me. Went from a D to an A by senester’s end.

People also praised Hayer for his dedication as a student and a parent.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse huge respect for the prof obviously but can we talk about the dad still showing up in the first place?! that's one strong and dedicated student/parent. i woulda cried and stayed my ass home.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse Takes a village...❤️ also kudos to the student who didn’t want to miss class even tho they had no babysitter. I firmly believe you get out of an education what you put in. This student wants to learn. This prof loves to teach. A winning killer combo! 👏👍

Some expressed their gratitude to their own teachers for being supportive.

@Original_Vaughn @CPOTG @Morehouse I experienced this with my own story at Clark Atlanta. Dr. Daniel Black would watch my son while I went to class. No one fight for you like the professors at an HBCU. I’m always humbled, honored, and proud. Keep grinding homey.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse I was married before I graduated from undergrad, and had twins a couple years into PhD. I’m only faculty now because of my advisor who was supportive like you. Thank you ❤️❤️ thank you for this.

Others noted how instrumental all teachers are to changing lives.

@Original_Vaughn @YannaWilliams18 @Morehouse Teachers can and do change lives.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse Because educators do everything they can to help their students succeed. I wouldnt be who I am if it wasnt for my #publicschool educators that taught me how to think broadly and deeply.

Alexander’s gesture even inspired other professors to offer students help with child care.

@Original_Vaughn @Morehouse This is fabulous!!! To anyone taking my @UMIOE 510 this fall, if you're ever in this bind, I'll have your back...

Alexander said that teachers were doing their “own versions of this” throughout the country.

He said the reactions to his gesture were a “nice recognition” of teachers as well as students who are also parents.

Alexander stressed the importance of finding ways to create access for students who are parents and to support both male and female students with children.

“This is what we do as teachers,” he said.

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