The purpose of this article is to inspire those who desire to improve their teaching effectiveness. A short story, “The Winter Oak” (Nagibin 1953), provides an organizing framework to articulate some of the most important factors involved in effective and influential teaching. Surrounding each of four parts of the story, I summarize research on the attributes of effective educators, discuss real-life, challenging situations and their outcomes, comment on lessons learned from “The Winter Oak,” and include stories of inspiring educators. These elements provide opportunities for reflection about the wonders of teaching and learning.

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