In Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales—a text often taught in English classes—the narrator describes one of the pilgrims: “And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.” In other words, to teach well, one learns well. So, in honor of the end of the academic year, we celebrate humanities teachers who devote their lives to passing along what they have learned, sparking lifelong curiosity in their students.

Award-winning novelist Charles Frazier remembers how his teacher’s instruction on musical instruments enriched his experience of hearing an orchestra in rural Asheville for the first time. Literary scholar Marlene Daut reflects on the importance of teaching literature in which students may recognize elements of their own stories and identities. For Janet Napolitano, a conversation with a teacher after receiving a low grade on a poetry analysis ultimately served her well in a career in government and higher education.   

Find these stories and other moments inspired by teachers in the collection assembled here.