College professor goes viral for carrying student’s baby on her back during 3-hour lecture

The educator says wearing a baby on your back is common practice in her native Mali.

Professor Ramata Sissoko Cissé
Image via Twitter/Anna Cissé

Ramata Sissoko Cissé, an assistant professor of biology at Georgia Gwinnett College, is Internet famous after a photo went viral showing her teaching an anatomy course with one of her student’s children strapped to her back.

Speaking to both CNN and Yahoo, Cissé, also a mother of three, explained that one of her students called her before class with news that her babysitter was sick and she wanted the green light to bring her baby to class.

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“She asked if she could bring the baby with her to class because she had missed a class already and did not want to be behind. …I know the student is very smart and ambitious. She really wanted to learn,” Cissé said to Yahoo.

But in class, the baby boy kept distracting the mother, making it hard for her to take notes on the lesson.

“I said, ‘Hand me the baby,'” the professor said. “I knew I could make it easy for her not only to concentrate but also to take notes with ease,” she added.

“In my native Mali, we used sheets and other pieces of fabric to securely carry babies on our backs. My natural instinct was to find a way to secure the baby and I was standing next to a rack with a clean lab coat.”

With the baby safely secured on her back, Cissé continued to teach as he slept through the three-hour class.

“Towards the end, he woke up and I took him off my back, sat in the first row and fed him with a bottle. He did not cry once,” Cissé said. Her daughter later tweeted the now viral picture of her mother teaching with the baby on her back.

“My decision to help out this student was driven by the school culture with a student’s success being foremost. We do all we can for the student to be successful,” the professor said. “I did not want to see her struggling, because as a mother, I know how hard it could be.”

A spokeswoman for Georgia Gwinnett College told CNN that the child’s mother asked to not be identified.

“Love and compassion are part of the philosophy of my classroom,” Cissé said.

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