CSI in the Classroom Alumni Earns Teaching Awards
It was inevitable that Michelle (Carlson) Mallett would be a doctor. After all, her father is a doctor. His father was a doctor. And his father was a doctor.
Michelle grew up believing this foregone conclusion. A whiz at all things scientific and mathematical, she excelled at Oklahoma Christian, and was named the Outstanding Science and Engineering Alumnus of the Year in 2000.
But as she was finishing up her undergraduate degree in biology-medical at OC in 1990, and was on the fast track to medical school, she was troubled by a nagging feeling.
Michelle received wise counsel from two of her mentors and advisors, Dr. Roland Schultz and the late Dr. Kim Gaither (81). They told her to pray.
So pray she did. Alone at a park in Edmond, Michelle took her concerns, anxieties and questions about her future to the Lord. She prayed. And got a clear answer.
She would not be a doctor. She would be a teacher.
“Immediately, the weight on my shoulders lifted,” she said.
Now, after 18 years of teaching many science courses, including anatomy and physiology, biology, chemistry, forensics, advanced placement biology, advanced placement chemistry and physics at Oklahoma Christian Academy in Edmond, Oklahoma, Michelle gives glory to God for equipping her to instill a love for learning in her students.
She also credits Him for the many awards she has received, most recently the Dwain Hart Teacher of the Year award from the Texas Christian Schools Association.
“Mrs. Mallett has a unique gift for teaching that I have rarely seen elsewhere. Her dedication to her students and involvement in their lives goes leaps and bounds beyond the extra mile,” said Brianna Gaither, the daughter of Kim and David Gaither (81). Brianna graduated from OCA in 2007, from OC in 2011, and is now a popular singer/songwriter. “She invited us into her home for dinner on a weekly basis, making every effort to get to know us individually.”
Michelle, who lives in Edmond with her husband Jevon (91) and their two children, Merideth, 12, and Harrison, 8, is known for her whimsical and varied teaching approach that speaks to auditory, visual and kinesthetic learners. She wants her students to know how to think and to be confident even if they make mistakes.
“How do we learn unless we make a mistake?” she reminded her freshman biology students, who were learning about nucleotides, uracil, and other puzzle pieces of DNA.
Her passion, style and talent bring the material alive, though she admits it is more challenging for students in the digital and gaming generation of constant and immediate media. But she puts in the time and creativity to literally put together puzzle pieces that represent DNA, sing about the Scientific Method, or recreate a crime scene for her forensics class.
And she can do it all with a Christian worldview. “What does God know that we do not know?” she will ask her students to drive home a point about our creator, who formed all living things intricately and purposefully.
She also has a testimony about God’s protection. In 1996, Michelle was driving for a school trip when a semi-truck broadsided her vehicle.
Michelle suffered a broken back, skull, facial orbit and arm. She had multiple burns, abrasions and embedded glass shards. She deals with chronic pain that is only alleviated by standing most of the time. But she is grateful for her survival and her ability to raise her family and continue her career.
“I tell my students that I thought I was in control of that car, but that semi hit me, and I should not have survived. Things happen that are out of our control, but with God we find out who we are and how we are going to grow,” she said.
View more stories from the Spring 2012 issue of Vision magazine.