ATEC Fellow Michael Lee Finds Teaching to Be an Inspiring Way to Learn and an Ideal Way to Help
By Levi McAtee
Considering he spent his entire life studying in Scotland to obtain a Ph.D. in physics, it’s pretty extraordinary Michael Lee describes his nascent teaching career here in Maine as an inspiring way to learn. As one of the newest additions to Lincoln Academy’s faculty, Lee works part time in the ATEC building teaching engineering and computer science, and helping new Academic Technology Coordinator Stephanie Cheney fill the void left by Maya Crosby, the recently departed Director of Innovation and Technology. While his time with Lincoln Academy is only just beginning, Lee’s positive approach to education falls right in line with those of the rest of the faculty and staff. His past lead him here only by chance, which makes his unique experiences, perspectives, and contributions all the more welcomed and appreciated.
Lee was born in Inverness, Scotland and began his childhood as “quite a shy person,” but an early pursuit in rock climbing, separate from the rules and expectations of school, helped him overcome his timid nature. He first discovered his aptitude for physics when he was 13 years old, and later pursued the subject at the University of Glasgow studying astrophysics. Ultimately, astrophysics proved unpleasantly difficult, so he switched to physics. As part of the requirements of obtaining a Ph.D at Glasgow, Lee served as a lab instructor. This was his first taste being an educator, which he found enjoyable.
He moved to Maine two years ago when his wife, Catherine Mitchell, found a job at Bigelow Laboratory researching biology. The two now live in Nobleboro and are “quite happy.” When asked for his thoughts regarding life in Maine, Lee reflected that the weather is superb compared to Scotland and the “people are great. You’re always surprised by who you meet and what they’re up to.”
Originally, Lee worked in Walpole building boats. Later, he took a job with Gizmo Gardens working with middle school kids and helping them design and construct basic electrical systems. While at Gizmo Gardens he volunteered at a variety of STEM related organizations including the Hour of Code, the Vex Robotics Competition, and the Maine State Science Fair. Through these organizations he got connected with Maya Crosby who eventually led him to Lincoln Academy. He found the entire teaching experience to be humbling, later stating that the kids he worked with had “so much more creativity and ideas than I do. It was inspiring to see how much I could learn from teaching.” Lee has brought that same attitude to Lincoln.
Though his perspective changes as he learns from teaching everyday, Lee’s passion for teaching originates simply from a desire to help people. He maintains: “if you want to help people, teaching is a good way to do it because you’re investing in their future. It’s not just a quick fix.” He is very conscious of how his students are doing in class and does his best to progress at a pace that works for all. He is aware that some students learn quickly while others more slowly, and frequently asks himself: “how can I be of use to both types?” Most of all, he wants his students to know that he is really patient, and that there are no worries, nor any reasons for stress. Qualified, inspired, thoughtful, Lee is an excellent addition to Lincoln Academy’s faculty.
Levi McAtee is a senior at Lincoln Academy, where he is pursuing an independent study in Journalism.