Sometimes students don’t think that their teachers have much of a life outside the walls of the school. Certainly none of the boys, who sat in a math class with an especially tough, old school, Vietnam veteran, could perceive that he is not the same person outside of class. He has no wife and no children and believes that school is a place of learning and is not supposed to be fun and games all the time.
Mr. Jim O’Connor, a teacher at St. Francis High School, had a secret though. Inside his hard exterior, a side his students rarely saw, was hiding a soft warm heart. His own students who saw him in class never saw it until they signed up for a blood drive at the local children’s hospital.
That is when one student, visiting the hospital for a pre-drive meeting, was surprised to find out that Mr. O’Connor was leading a double life. All the hospital staff were singing the praises of a man that no one at school truly knew. He is a saint to them. The students were dumbfounded.
Jim O’Connor is the hospitals biggest blood donor, which is wonderful, but even more amazing is what else he does at the hospital several times a week. He opens his heart and his arms to babies in the NICU ward. He holds them, rocks them and feeds them. He sits with them when their parents are working or unable to come and he has been there when many have, sadly, drawn their last breath .
His students may not find him the most jovial of teachers but they certainly did find a new respect for Mr. Jim O’Connor and received an lesson learned that no math class can ever give them. Compassion.