So I asked them. (Honestly, it was the reason for instigating the mid-semester evaluations, which turned out to be helpful in their own right.)
I gave a list of possible answers and let them select multiple choices.
- 34% said it was “A chance to see that professors are human.”
- 53% said “Great. Bring her anytime.”
- 28% said “Acceptable under rare circumstances, but shouldn’t happen on a regular basis.”
- 6% said “Unprofessional.”
- 9% said “A distraction for the students.”
- 13% said “A distraction for the professor.”
- 13% said “Fun.”
Given that 6% here corresponds to 2 students, it looks like the majority of my class wasn’t too put off by having an 8 month old in class with them. Hopefully it was a positive example for some of the (prospective) parents in class.
As for my verdict, I’d be with the 28% who said it was acceptable under rare circumstances. It certainly isn’t something I would want to do on a regular basis, and I’ve taken pains to make sure it hasn’t happened again. Next semester should be easier since my earliest class is at 9:30, not at 8 am.