Kate Zinke makes a new kind of impact on CK students.

This article will feature American Lit and Debate teacher Kate Zinke

Kate Zinke and Brent Firkins posing for a photo.

Nate Larson

Kate Zinke and Brent Firkins posing for a photo.

by Nate Larson, Contributor

Nate Larson
photo of the cougar in the CKHS gym.

Kate Zinke is a somewhat new teacher in the CK building this being only her second year. In this year and a half she has made a huge impact on the people around her. Zinke teaches American literature and debate class as well as manages the debate team. These are challenging tasks to take on first arriving in a new building and a new state but Zinke did not let that hold her back.

People might assume that a highly skilled teacher like Zinke must have always wanted to be a teacher but that’s not the case. “ No i did not foresee this, I didn’t enjoy high school but after I got my bachelors degree I considered it as an outlet for my passion of literature” said Zinke. Zinke expresses that she always strives to be successful at whatever she does. It is not an easy skill being able to pick up a career and be a well liked teacher that connects with students.


“I try to see them as individuals and find some way for them to express their individuality through the literature” said Zinke. Zinke brings light upon why her methods work well with the students making it known that she cares about the overall well being of students. This makes it easy for students to open up and engage in in the literature brought upon them.


After digging a little deeper, Zinke said “ my favorite part about being a teacher is Seeing the journey of students to their self realization and being part of that journey and being able to influence them along the way.” by saying this it shows that Zinke is very invested in the success and happiness of her students and never tries to cut corners with her teaching because of that reason.

Now knowing Zinke’s teaching philosophy, one might ask where she came to be the caring and dedicated teacher she is today. “I thought in Arizona and two different schools in phoenix and I did my teacher training in Portland” said Zinke. Zinke explained that the school conditions for teachers and students were below exceptional in Arizona. She explained that it was much harder for families to live the way they needed because of the conditions. “ I got a 15,000 dollar raise with the same experience and skills needed to teach in Arizona. There are regional cultural differences, the school I taught at in Arizona, you could see the border wall from the school” said Zinke. She went on to express that life was hard for students at her old school with many of them coming from poor families or having to cross the border for school every day.

One thing that teachers always want to do is leave a memory in the heads of their students and impact their lives for the better. “ I would like for people to see perspective and understand what it means. I hope that i can understand their perspective and they can understand mine” said Zinke. She expresses that she wants the students to get more out of her classes than just literature. Zinke wants her students to leave her class prepared to handle situations with maturity and professionalism because that sets people up well for life.


 In featuring teachers, it is also important to get the students perspective. The biggest question is whether students can relate to a teacher. “Yes definitely, star feature right there. Its like how you can relate to sweet” said debate student Brent Firkins. Firkins compared Zinke to JD Sweet a long time teacher at CK. he went on to explain that Zinke has good teaching tactics and makes the students work hard.

Nate Larson
Brent Firkins posing for a photo

“She is very precocious with her statements and very comforting to the students” said Firkins. Firkins went on to explain that Zinke really tries to make the students comfortable and does not try to make them feel attacked by certain statements. That way the students have a comfortable learning environment which is setting students up for success.


It is also important to get the perspective of other staff members that work with Zinke.”I think she’s tough as nails but she offers a balance of being tough, loving, caring and supportive” said staff member Mr. Mccarthy. Mccarthy had nothing but good things to say about Zinke and he explained the different traits Zinke has in her teaching. Mccarthy is somewhat close with Zinke as they talk almost everyday at school.


One last thing that is important for teachers is the question of whether or not they fit in with what the school is trying to accomplish. “Yes she does, I think that some teachers understand that education is the is the great equalizer and she understands that what she’s doing now has tremendous payoff down the road” said Mccarthy. Mccarthy explains that Zinke has really bought into what CK wants their students to be equipped with.


After hearing from these people and Kate Zinke herself, it is clear how important teaching is to her and she goes above and beyond for her students trying to get to know them better. Zinke really does fit the CK image and even improves it. There are many students around CK that want Zinke to stay around for a long time and CK has no doubt that she will.