W&J Senior, Paris Lyons, poses in front of an overlook of Pittsburgh.

Teaching for tomorrow: W&J senior turns internship into student teaching position

Created: January 24, 2022  |  Last Updated: February 18, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

WASHINGTON, PA (January 24, 2022)—W&J Senior Paris Lyons is teaching her way to the top.

A child development and education major with a concentration in conflict and resolution studies, she spent last semester interning at McKee Elementary School (part of the West Allegheny School District) and is now completing her student teaching there.

Though she serves in an active teaching role, Lyons says she learns every day.

“I’ve learned a lot about different elements within the education field [teaching at McKee],” she said, noting that in addition to teaching and experimenting with different testing measures, she’s also collected data and helped students with both academic and personal issues. “[Being at McKee has taught me] to be the best version of myself and how to help students be the best version of themselves.”

Rewarding as it is, Lyons said the gig can sometimes prove challenging.

“I have experienced emotional outbursts and [have had to] help with redirecting behaviors,” she said. “[But] my host teachers…are amazing and have really helped expose me to the teaching profession.”

Apparently, they’re not the only ones who have done so. Lyons said her exposure to the profession started with the professors at W&J.

“The professors [at W&J] talk to us as if we are professionals and tell us personal experiences to let us know we are not alone,” she said. “You can make or break a child’s entire will to learn. You are not just their teacher, you are their confidant, their support, their mentor, and so much more. You might be the only person to talk to that child all day long, so be kind. These are just some of the concepts [they’ve made me] accustomed to.”

Though all of her professors have shared these ideas, Lyons said Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Marissa Capuzzi-Schimizzi, Instructor of Education David Bunting, and Diane Day, the administrative assistant of the education department, have been particularly instrumental to her success.

“Dr. Capuzzi and Professor Bunting have taught me how to excel in anything I set my mind to…,” Lyons said, adding that graduate school may be in her future. “[And] I give all credit to Ms. Day for reaching out to placements for us and keeping our information organized.”

For Lyons, at least, placement at McKee is paying off.

“My favorite memories…[are] watching…students improve in their Math and English skills….” Lyons said. “It is really fun watching students have that ah-ha moment when they understand concepts.”


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu or call 888-W-AND-J.