The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


A Texas teaching odyssey

When Michael Lane left The College Preparatory School in Oakland, Calif., he was looking for an adventure. Having grown up in Bakersfield, Lane was a California native who had been there his whole life, even attending college at UC Berkeley. After receiving the opportunity to take over as the new Doc Nelson Alumni Teaching Chair, teaching both physics and chemistry, he decided to come to Texas.

“I felt a little bit like a hobbit,” Lane said. “Hobbits are these little creatures that are known to be very conservative, and they never go on adventures. And I thought, ‘before I get too old, I need to have an adventure. I’m going to just pack up and go to Texas and have fun.’”

And so far, things are going well.

After gaining an interest in chemistry during his junior year of highschool, Lane majored in chemical engineering at UC Berkeley before switching to chemistry after two years. He then stayed there for his doctorate in nuclear chemistry, where he specialized in spontaneous fission of heavy elements, publishing numerous journals based on his studies and contributing to various research books. However, after graduating and spending a year doing research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Lane realized he missed the constant human interaction of a classroom environment.

“I just went into teaching not expecting to be a teacher very long, then get back into research, but it became sort of addicting,” Lane said. “And before I knew it, I was a permanent teacher.”

Lane uses his extensive knowledge and experience to guide his students in the classroom, with the end goal of improving students’ knowledge while also making it fun.

“I really enjoy being in front of the classroom and imparting knowledge to people,” Lane said. “I want them to leave the class being smarter than me. I want them to learn material, even if it’s not science.”

In addition to teaching in the classroom, Lane is the new director of the planetarium. Lane will be responsible for delivering astronomy lessons to students, developing new shows, discovering creative learning opportunities, helping other teachers use the planetarium in their instruction and hosting special events for the community.

“The planetarium has software to help students study not just astronomy, but earth science, environmental science, anatomy… even social science and history, so the director will be an important resource for teachers across campus,” Stephen M. Seay ‘68 Science Department Chair Fletcher Carron said.

Besides his background in science research and nearly 25 years of experience teaching science classes, Carron was excited by Lane’s natural desire to teach and immediate dedication to the community. “In just five weeks with the students, he’s already having a big impact on their experience,” Carron said.

 As important as his classroom instruction is, Lane is also focused on his interactions with students in the community.“I’m a real people person, so I have a lot of fun with students, and I’m really looking forward to meeting all the students here,” Lane said.

 After first visiting the school, Lane was also intrigued by the school’s pride and ethical mission.“There’s a lot of focus on helping the students to grow ethically, and to be good people,” Lane said. Outside of the classroom, Lane stays fit by playing sports, working out and running. He is an avid film enthusiast, and he also loves music, though he wishes he could play himself.

 “People think of a science teacher that just goes home and likes to watch science documentaries,” Lane said. “I’ll do that occasionally, but that’s not my hobby. I don’t just get out audiobooks for science and listen to that. So some kids joke about that. They’ll see me going for a jog with my earbuds in and say, ‘are you listening to a science lecture?’ No, I listen to music.”

Michael Lane is a multifaceted educator with boundless enthusiasm, dedicated to enriching the lives of others. The school has found not just a teacher, but a guide, an explorer and a source of inspiration for faculty and students alike.


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About the Contributors
Oliver Peck, Academics Editor
Winston Lin, Staff Writer, Staff Photographer