A great teacher can change a kid's entire life and inspire their values well into adulthood. Many times, the teachers who end up being the biggest softies come in prickly packages. A lot of kids need tough love, and working in the underpaid and overworked U.S. education system is hardly a task for the faint of heart.
While she had a reputation for being super tough, she was secretly sweet to OP and let him take CPR for free when he couldn't afford it.
"I had a teacher in high school who had a reputation as being the super tough/mean, older African American lady. She taught health class. There was a mandatory CPR class that we had to pay for, and there was no way I could pay for anything in those days. CPR day came, and she told me to go with the other students. I gave her a confused look to which she replied “You’re good baby.”