One professor's heartwarming photos brought out all the feelings in people on Twitter, including compassion and a call for change.

By Beth Ann Mayer
June 09, 2021
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An image of a college classroom on a colorful background.
Credit: Getty Images. Art: Jillian Sellers.

A Senegalese professor in southeast Dakar recently did double-duty while on the job, and the photos are absolutely priceless. They also (unsurprisingly) went viral.

Labaly Touré, a doctor of geomatics and professor at the University of Kaolack, shared a pair of photos of himself holding one of his student's babies while teaching his students to Twitter on June 2. "This morning, I had the pleasure of carrying the baby of one of my students during my class at the university," the translated caption read.

The post has tallied nearly 15K retweets and more than 112K likes. There are also thousands of comments from people applauding Touré's compassion for working mothers and hoping others learn a thing or two from the professor.

"Well done, sir. Empathy, dedication, and an incredible faith in the idea that human salvation comes through education drive you," said one user in a translated tweet. "Bravo…to all the female students," another user's translated reply read. And another person's response translates to, "Well done. It's very humanistic on your part."

Some were impressed but would like to see the university go further to support parents.

"A nice gesture, Labaly, but having a nursery in the universities would help our brave sisters," a user wrote in a translated tweet.

Touré told France 24 he was surprised by the reaction, but he hopes it raises awareness and sparks change. "Because I am a father myself, I am sensitive to these issues. And we, as teachers, have a role to play in helping these mothers…I also spoke to my colleagues, telling them that motherhood shouldn't be a reason for someone to stop their studies."

This story is so sweet, and it's encouraging the internet chose to embrace this professor. In the U.S., the pandemic has forced us to reckon how we treat parents who work or attend school. But too often, we've seen stories about moms being shamed by professors for breastfeeding on Zoom and even fired because people were sick of hearing their children during video meetings.

As we emerge from the pandemic, working parents are looking for more flexibility from their employers, including permission to work from home. Parents who are students should also have access to flexible arrangements from colleagues and educators. After the year we've endured, it would be such a great silver lining to see employers and educators respect the essential work parents do to care for their children and embrace it with more empathy and better policies.