'I wanted Peterra to not feel distracted and be able to actively participate with her peers around her. Plus, who doesn't want to hold a cute baby!?'
Dr. Samuel Reed is a master at handling tears in his math class, be they of his adult students or a tiny human who's only been on the planet for a couple of months. The professor got to show off his childcare and multitasking skills while teaching at Greenwood, South Carolina's Lander University recently when one of his students had to bring her 2-month-old infant to class with her. Peterra Richburg, a senior majoring in elementary education and a student in Reed's class, found herself in a predicament when a last-minute alteration in childcare left her having to decide between missing class and staying home to care for her daughter Aria or go to college with her baby.
Taking a leap of faith, Richburg decided to take her baby to class with her. The young mom, who is set to graduate from Lander in May 2023, put Aria in the car and drove to campus, nervous about how her peers and professor would react to the presence of a baby in the math class. "I didn’t have time to let Dr. Reed know that I was bringing her with me. I was so nervous about it," she told the university. Her nerves somewhat subsided when Aria's entrance was met with a joyous response from her classmates. "They were saying, 'there's a baby in the class,'" said Richburg, adding that she was grateful for the welcome her daughter received.
However, the highlight of the day was when Reed scooped the infant up without skipping a beat when the little one got a bit fussy during class. He continued teaching while comforting Aria so that her mom could take notes. "She was alert and looking around when Dr. Reed was holding her," Richburg shared. "It was very sweet." Reed revealed that Aria is the first baby to attend one of his classes. "I was surprised and excited by baby Aria's visit to the class! Peterra had not brought her to class this semester, and I did not even know she was a new mom," he said.
When the baby became fussy, "I figured we could ignore her cries until Mom returned, or I could hold her and see if I could help. So, I picked her up and continued teaching," said Reed, who is the father of a 2-year-old child himself and was leading a class on how to teach addition to students during Aria's visit. "I also wanted Peterra to not feel distracted and be able to actively participate with her peers around her. Plus, who doesn't want to hold a cute baby!? Guests, especially cute babies, are always a pleasant visit. As a parent, I think I have always had a healthy expectation that 'my community is going to help me raise this child, right?' I feel it would be rather hypocritical of me to not be willing to turn around and help another parent who needs a little love and compassion in the moment."
"Dr. Reed said that I can bring Aria back any time," said Richburg. "I'm not sure when that will be, but maybe on a day when I’m not student teaching."