Photo: Morgan King/University of Tennessee

This teacher deserves a gold star.

Being a mother is hard work. Yet, if you ask any mom out there, she’ll tell you it’s one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. But just imagine balancing school and work as a full-time student, all while raising a child. Well, that’s exactly what University of Tennessee student  Morgan King is doing while studying therapeutic recreation on the Knoxville campus.

On Thursday, June 14, this single mom faced an issue most parents have experienced at one point or another—finding a last-minute babysitter. So King emailed her professor, Sally Hunter, to explain that she missed class because she couldn’t find child care for her 3-month-old daughter, Korbyn. King didn’t ask or expect any special treatment, making her professor’s response all the more praiseworthy.

Hunter, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the university, not only excused King’s absence, but she responded in this simple yet heartwarming way: "Just bring your baby to class," she said. But that’s not all. Hunter also volunteered (no pun intended) to hold the baby while King took notes during class.

In the future, if you are having trouble finding someone to watch Korbyn, feel free to just BRING HER with you to class," Hunter wrote in the email. "I would be absolutely delighted to hold her while I teach, so that you can still pay attention to the class and take notes.

Ah, if only we all had a teacher like this when emergencies arise. Naturally, King was overwhelmed with emotion and took to Twitter to express her gratitude for her professor’s compassion and kindness:

It should comes as no surprise the amount of encouragement and support both King and Hunter have received since King’s tweet went viral. After losing her own mother to breast cancer last year, King is a great example of staying focused through adverse circumstances. "It is so hard," King told USA Today. "But I am so determined to graduate and get my degree for Korbyn and I. It's not just about me anymore. I have to do this for us."

 Photo: THV 11

And as for Hunter, well, she’s the personification of Southern hospitality—gracious, kind, warm, and willing to offer a hand (or, in this case, open arms) to help another. In Hunter's own words, "inviting Korbyn to class was just the decent thing to do."  

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University of Tennessee Chancellor Beverly Davenport put it best: "Morgan, thanks for showing us challenges college students face. Prof Hunter, thanks for being part of the solution," Davenport posted on Twitter.