Why I Teach in the D

By:Teach 313 | March 13, 2020

Corinne Lyons

When I graduated from Wayne State University in 2016, with my Master of Arts in Teaching, I applied to exactly ONE district. 

Detroit Public Schools Community District. 

For a while, I will admit, I had considered applying to other districts. There were many positives like a larger salary and more resources (and those things are STILL attractive).

But…when it came time to apply for a job…only one application went in.

While the positives of other districts were attractive, they were missing something.

1. The History. 

It was a cold morning in December when I was born on West Grand Boulevard (at the Henry Ford Hospital Main Campus) here in Detroit. Believe it or not; it was less than five minutes away from the house I spent my childhood in and now less than three minutes away from the school where I currently teach.

From ages 3 to 17, I attended Daniel Webster Elementary School, Amelia Earhart Middle School, then Cass Technical High School – all Detroit Public Schools. 

Beyond that, my mother and grandmother have similar stories to mine. Both attended elementary, middle, and high school at Detroit Public Schools before being employed by the district

Currently, my students walk the streets, eat at the restaurants, and visit the stores I did as a kid. They look like me, talk like me, and walk like me. 

2. The City. 

I love Detroit. I have never dreamed of living outside of the city (unless it was another major city). 

Many consider the “changes” in Detroit a comeback or resurgence. But I don’t. 

There have always been people in the city that worked hard to make this a great place to eat, live, and play. But finally, after the decline of the auto industry, which culminated in Detroit with the Great Recession, outsiders are investing in us. 

However, Detroit residents HAVE heart and always have.

Teaching in this city means not only am *I* taking over the world like Mrs. Dana Davidson imparted on EACH one of her students daily, but I am part of the continued take over.

3. The Students/Parents. 

As a student at Cass Tech for two years, I heard a phrase that encouraged me to take over the world. My classmates did too. 

And we ARE taking over the world. 

Teaching is one way that *I* am doing so. However, it’s not just me. I’m also teaching MY Students to take over the world too. All of this leads into the fourth and final thing. 

4. The Future. 

There is so much room for improvement in DPSCD and the education system in Detroit. 

After living and breathing it as a student and employee, I know that I have the patience, skills, and passion to be a part of the change. 

And don’t misunderstand, every district in the country can improve on something, DPSCD is no different. 

So being here in the city, being here in this district, means I am part of the change, and most importantly, part of the improvement. 


About the Author

Corinne Lyons is a middle school teacher with DPSCD at Sampson Webber Leadership Academy and a Teach 313 Fellow. Her teaching style is influenced by the many great educators she had the pleasure of encountering throughout her time as a student, including her mother, Ms. Gabrielle Lyons Patterson. Outside of the classroom, Corinne loves to read and write and is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

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