Submitted by Denair Unified School District
Name: Kara Binkley
Family: I have a hubby and three kiddos: McKinley, McKenzie and Madden.
School: Denair Charter Academy
Experience and education: One year of teaching fifth grade, three years teaching kindergarten and I am starting my sixth year of Independent Studies with high school students! I also love that I have the opportunity to coach students in my cross training class and lead counseling sessions for students on campus.
What most inspires you about teaching? Teaching can be exhausting, yet the most rewarding career! I am truly inspired every week by my students and their drive to succeed! DCA has given me the opportunity to see my students not only as a “student,” but also as a young person opening up and sharing their life experiences both good and bad. Their transparency gives me the push to better myself and for that I am thankful.
What are your biggest challenges as a teacher? Helping students to believe in themselves and their potential for college is one of my biggest challenges.
What is your favorite teaching tool or activity? My favorite weekly activity is “Bink’s Vocab!” My students are required to read each night and choose one word that they didn’t know the definition of. The word must be quoted from the book and defined. Each student writes it on my whiteboard for all to see. I find myself learning new words weekly!
How has Common Core affected your classroom strategy? DCA is unique in the fact that we meet one on one with our students. As teachers, we are finding creative ways to teach the common core standards. Last year, I had my junior and senior students use digital media to give an oral presentation on any U.S. president. It was such an incredible feeling to see them stand with pride and most definitely built up their confidence.
What do you want your students to remember? I want students to always remember that they are important and able to achieve anything they put their mind and heart into. I also want them to remember that their outgoing, caring, and charismatic teacher Mrs. Binkley always believed in them and truly cared about them as a whole!
How can parents support what you do? I feel parents can support me as a teacher by supporting their child at home. It would be amazing if each student on our campus had a parent/guardian to look at his or her schoolwork each day. Not only to hold them accountable, but also to make sure the material is understood and to encourage them along the way.
What will it take to improve academic success in DUSD schools? As a Denair alumnus, I had an incredible experience growing up in the school district I now work in. I always loved our tight-knit community each family helped to create! I graduated from college with a master’s degree in school psychology, so I feel academic success greatly depends on what you as the student puts into it. I want to continue this with my own family and feel academic success will improve when students, teachers and parents believe in our school district and what it stands for. “Let’s Go Coyotes!”
What’s next in your classroom? I don’t know what is next in my cubicle/classroom. The beauty of teaching at DCA is the ability to change each student’s lesson plans to fit their needs. We are individualized and that is what makes it work for all students that come our way.
What would surprise people about your job? People would be surprised that our students at DCA meet with us one on one for at least an hour each week. We build trusting relationships with our students and they are able to reach me anytime of the day or night. Many students on our campus don’t have a strong support team at home and that is what I strive to give them.
What do you do for fun? My passions include CrossFit and traveling both near and far!