On Friday, Nick Vaughn witnessed this scene in his math class, when his classmate, Wayne Hayer, showed up wearing his baby daughter in a carrier. The father explained to their professor, Nathan Alexander, that he couldn’t find a babysitter.
“No problem, in fact I will even hold her so you can take better notes in class,” Vaughn quoted Alexander as saying on his viral Facebook post.
It turns out that this wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I try to tell my students early in the semester that if they ever need anything from me, to be in touch with me to let them know, and I really work to let them know that I mean that,” Alexander tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Hayer had mentioned in a previous conversation that getting his daughter from place to place sometimes prevented him from attending office hours and study sessions.
“I said feel free to bring her to my office,” Alexander says. “And Friday, he walks into the class and he says, ‘Hey, you said if I need anything to let you know. Here she is.’ ”
Alexander is the James King Jr. Visiting Professor of Mathematics Teaching at Morehouse, where he teaches mathematics education, statistical and mathematical modeling, and social networks and graphs. This particular course was algebra for liberal arts majors, he says. Because he keeps the atmosphere collaborative, with students teaching each other and writing on the white board, the baby’s presence wasn’t all that distracting.
“She was really well behaved,” he says. “I think we all enjoyed having her energy.”
Other students responding on Twitter said this was something they would expect from Alexander.
“@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),” wrote @mustbethehype.
When sharing this anecdote on Twitter and Facebook, Vaughn said that Alexander’s gesture was part of the supportive environment students get at the all-male, historically black university.
“Not saying that at a [predominantly white institution] you won’t find this act, but here on the campus of Morehouse one of the iconic [historically black colleges and universities] in the world, it just felt more caring and from the heart,” Vaughn wrote.