(Originally published on April 29, 2016 and updated May 1, 2020)  

Teachers do so much to help students learn and make a positive difference in their lives. Their caring presence has reassured students and their families that learning can continue in the midst of a pandemic, even as so much else is changing. Often teachers never know what kind of influence they have had on their students. 

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week (May 4-8, 2020) we have curated some podcasts featuring teachers making a difference and students thanking teachers for all they have done. Enjoy listening to these stories and know that teachers’ dedication does not go unnoticed!

Kobe’s Teacher

Kobe Bryant’s high school English teacher had a profound influence on the basketball star; in fact, he even called her his “muse.” Listen to hear about the positive and lasting impact this teacher made on Kobe and how her voicemail inspired him before big games.  

A Gift for a Teacher

NPR’s “All Things Considered” host Audie Cornish remembers her high school history teacher as tough and caring. Listen to a conversation between the host and the teacher who pushed her to do her best. 

Teacher of the Year Teaches Inmates

Rodney Robinson works in a juvenile jail with students of many ages and skill levels, and he is dedicated to helping his students learn and succeed. Listen to hear how this National Teacher of the Year supports his students’ learning.

Love Poems from Kids

Poetry can strengthen bonds between teachers and students by helping them get to know each other better. Listen to hear poetic responses from students around the country to the Valentine’s Day prompt from teachers, “Love is…”

A Guidance Counselor’s Lessons

In high school, it’s nice to know that someone is on your side. Listen to hear NPR reporter Guy Raz reminisce with his former high school guidance counselor and thank him for always being in his corner. 

Reflecting with a Teacher

In this story, a student and her former 3rd grade teacher discuss how they remembered and admired each other. Later, the student became a victim of the February 10, 2015 shooting in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Listen to the original conversation and follow-up comments from the teacher.

A Teacher Who Paid Attention

A former high school English teacher sits down with a former student who never graduated. Listen to their conversation to hear about the challenges both teacher and student faced, and how the student felt his teacher’s support even as he struggled with school.