You don't need to have a child yourself to know that parenting ain't easy, and being a single mom is even harder — especially while putting themselves through school. On top of taking care of their own health — a monumental enough task for many college students — they have another human depending on them, and child care arrangements don't always work out. Fortunately, this professor's response to a single mom's absence shows that some people are more than willing to help young parents get an education. Warning: The following story will warm your cynical, blackened heart.
Morgan King, a 21-year-old student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, recently explained on Twitter that she had to miss an important class this summer when she was unable to find someone to watch her infant daughter. When she emailed her professor to explain her absence, Dr. Sally Hunter responded that her absence was excused, and in the future, King had her permission to simply bring her baby to class if necessary. In fact, Dr. Hunter even offered to hold the baby during the lecture, so King would be free to take notes.
The professor explained in her email that she works for the Department of Child and Family studies, so it wouldn't make sense for her to ban children from the classroom. "Let me know if there are other ways I could be supporting you!" she wrote.
Needless to say, this was a welcome surprise. King was so grateful that she tweeted a picture of the email, adding that she was "literally crying" — and let's be honest, you probably are, too.
King posted the tweet in mid-June. Within two weeks, it went viral, receiving more than 26,000 likes and nearly 5,000 retweets. Many Twitter users praised Dr. Hunter for her understanding and King for highlighting the difficulties of being a single mom. Even the Chancellor of the University of Tennessee, Beverley Davenport, chimed in.
A few days later, King tweeted one of Dr. Hunter's emails again after the professor wrote to acknowledge her sudden fame. "Seems to me that inviting Korbyn to class was just the decent thing to do," she wrote.
In an interview with local news outlet WBIR, Dr. Hunter expressed shock at the widespread attention her email received. "I feel like it was a really normal thing to do," she told the station, adding that a former professor had made a similar offer when she was in graduate school.
King's situation demonstrates the problem with affordable child care in the United States. According to the Economic Policy Institute, it's one of the biggest expenses faced by families today, and infant care in Tennessee, where King lives, costs nearly three-quarters as much as tuition for a four-year public college. Between work, family, and school, a single parent's life can become a balancing act — one that would be easier if child care was more affordable.
Meanwhile, there are professors like Dr. Hunter making their students' lives a little easier. Consider this writer's faith in humanity restored.