‘Quite an Honor’: Mountain Brook French Teacher Wins Yale Award

John Binet has been recognized by Yale University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a recipient of the 2022 Yale Educator Award.

By Anne Ruisi

Mountain Brook High School French teacher John Binet has been recognized by Yale University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions as a recipient of the 2022 Yale Educator Award.

“It’s quite an honor,” said Binet, who joined the school’s faculty in 2010. “I’m humbled by it but it’s a great feeling.”

The Yale Educator Recognition Program recognizes outstanding educators from around the world who support and inspire their students to perform at high levels and to achieve excellence. Of this year’s 339 nominees, 48 ​​teachers and 29 counselors were selected to receive the award, according to the Mountain Brook City Schools’ website.

Matriculating students are invited to nominate high school educators, and a committee of Yale admissions officers reviews each nomination and designates recipients. Jane Gray Battle, a 2022 Mountain Brook graduate who is a freshman at Yale, nominated Binet.

“To be thought about highly enough to have something like this done for me means the world to me,” Binet said. “I’ve learned that the connections you make with students are equal to, if not more important than, what you’re teaching them.”

Binet is one of two French teachers at the high school. His colleague, longtime French teacher Audrey Laird, is retiring this month and a new French teacher will take her place.

Students studying French at Mountain Brook High not only learn the language but are immersed using as many authentic sources as possible.

“We integrate technology into what we do,” Binet said.

For example, before the COVID-19 pandemic, classes would take field trips to Atlanta to dine in a French restaurant or visit a French art exhibit. While students can’t do that now, they do use tech such as Google maps to “drop into” a French city and explore it or listen to a podcast.

Binet thanked the school system for its support.

“I’m very appreciative of where I teach. It’s fortunate to have all the resources we need,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for all that they do for us,” he said.

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