With one simple gesture, Hebrew University Professor Sydney Engelberg became an champion for parents pursuing higher education.
On May 11, Engelberg's daughter Sarit Fishbaine shared a photo on Facebook that shows her father holding a baby while conducting a lecture. She explains in the caption that during her father's organizational behavior class, a student's baby began to cry, and when the mother got up to leave, Engelberg didn't hesitate to take the infant into his arms and soothe it. He then "continued the class as if nothing had happened,” she wrote.
“Show me another professor who does that,” Fishbaine says in the caption. “Because my dad is simply the best in the world.” Her Facebook post has almost 50,000 likes and 5,000 shares. An Imgur post with the photo has over 1 million views.
Engelberg's daughter also wrote that her father encourages his students with children to bring their babies to lectures and breastfeed them in class as well. “The way he sees the concept of getting education is not only learning the dry facts that you need to learn in class but also learning values. And that’s the very important message that my dad wants to endow to the world,” she told Buzzfeed News.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Engelberg said that it's more common to see babies in class in Israel because students in that country start tend to attending university at an older age, marry younger, and have larger families. "Family is as important as career here," he added.
Since Engelberg's picture went viral, an Israeli student group posted a several photos of professors lecturing while holding babies on its Facebook page. Several students and educators have since posted their own similar photos.
Professor Engelberg hopes his photo will "continue the discussion of what education should be," he said, adding, "Values and not just content, inclusiveness rather than elitism." He also hopes it highlights the sorts of day-to-day actions that are necessary for gender equality.
The professor's wife, Fredi Siskind Engelberg, told Yahoo Parenting that her husband started receiving love letters after the photo went viral. “He’s pretty blasé about it, and we just find it all very funny. I think it must have happened on a no-news day.”
"News" or not, here's to educators supporting student parents!
H/T Scary Mommy