Health Team

That photo of a professor holding a student's baby while he taught? It's not the first time he's done that

Posted May 9, 2018 1:55 p.m. EDT
Updated May 10, 2018 7:23 p.m. EDT

— By now, you've seen the photo on your social feed: A student, in a childcare bind, brings her baby to class. The physics professor holds the infant while he teaches.

Even though the professor, Bruce Johnson, is amused the photo is being shared so widely, he's surprised at the attention.

That's because what he did isn't uncommon, he told CNN. This semester alone, two or three students have brought their kids to his class at Arkansas State University.

"These are some of the most amazing experiences. Most recently a student brought her 2-year-old son and we played for some time," Johnson told CNN.

In fact, this is so common that a simple Google search for "professor holds baby" will give you several similar stories.

At Arkansas State, many faculty members allow their students to bring their kids to class with them if they can't find a sitter, Johnson said.

He's in awe of the students

Johnson has been teaching for 24 years. He's always amazed by students who are working toward a degree while raising a family, he said.

"What we do is just a small fraction compared to all their hard work," he said.

The photo was first shared by one of Johnson's colleagues, and has gotten thousands of views in just three days.

"This actually happened about two weeks ago," Johnson said. "I just couldn't resist her disarming smile and her little arms reaching out to me. So I asked her mother if I could pick her up."

Among the classes he teaches is general physics, a requisite for biology majors.

During one of Johnson's extra study sessions, student Kristen Black couldn't find a sitter.

She called Johnson, who told her not to worry and bring the child in.

"I hope that no parent ever feels like a classroom is an unfriendly place for their kids," Johnson said.

Black who is a biology major, wants to encourage mothers to not be afraid to ask for help.

"As for mothers out there who are also students, it takes courage, support, and determination but it's doable through the support of friends, family, and faculty," Black told CNN.

"You just have to remember that it's not a burden to have both roles, it's a blessing because you have the support of your number one fans and the biggest reason of all to succeed and find your passion in a career," she adds.

Black says that at first, she was scared being a mom would somehow stop her from becoming a student, but now she is only three semesters away from graduating.