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The school’s strictest teacher leads a double life that shocks his students

Teachers can play a really important role in students’ lives, providing encouragement and inspiration. Of course, students don’t always appreciate it at the time, especially when a teacher is really strict. They usually think that sort of teacher is just out to torment them, not knowing that there’s usually a lot more to the story.

Jim O’Connor, a math teacher at St. Francis High School near Pasadena, California, is Mr. Strict. He’s an army veteran with a booming voice who doesn’t tolerate any rowdiness or even restlessness in his classroom. Interviewed by CBS News, O’Connor remarked, “It drives me crazy when people say school should be fun. It’s nice if it could be, but you can’t make school fun.”

However, one of his students recently discovered that there’s a whole other side to Mr. O’Connor. The student was in charge of the school’s blood drive and was at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles for a meeting. When people heard he went to St. Francis, they kept saying things like, “Oh! You must know Jim O’Connor! Isn’t he wonderful?” The student was baffled — as far as he knew, Mr. O’Connor was an ogre! Part of the explanation was that O’Connor was not only a blood donor at the hospital, but the champion donor.

However, that wasn’t the only way O’Connor made a name for himself at the hospital. He’s also an expert baby cuddler! For the last 20 years, he’s come to the hospital three days a week as a volunteer, feeding and comforting newborns when their parents aren’t able to. According to nurse Erin Shmidt, “They tend to calm for him, they tend to relax with him, fall asleep with him.” The tough math teacher himself says of the newborns, “I really like them and relate to them somehow.” When a CBS reporter told him, “You’re not a tough guy at all,” O’Connor quipped, “I know, but don’t tell my students!”

How did you like the soft side of this non-nonsense math teacher? Let us know in the comments at Facebook and be sure to like and share!