“I’ve always connected with young children. I always played ‘teacher’ when I was young. Who knew I would grow up to be one?” said Debbie Creed. It wasn’t her initial path. In fact, she worked in textiles for much of her life and it was not until her company cut her position that she considered other options. They offered her two years of college with the job loss and she jumped at the chance. Her biggest hurdle was the algebra class she needed to graduate, but with a great teacher at Surry Community College, she succeeded.
Debbie said, “I worked hard for it. Both of my boys played multiple sports and my first husband was medically discharged from the army. He passed away due to a heart attack in 2010, but I remember pushing him in his wheelchair while carrying my backpack to games. It was so hard that I cried sometimes doing my homework, which I often did at games in between jumping up and hollering for my boys. I persevered.” She graduated with her early childhood associate degree with a concentration in teacher associate, and she’s been using her education in the classroom ever since.
When Debbie first joined the Child Care WAGE$® Program, she was one early childhood class shy of being at a permanent level on the WAGE$ education scale. In other words, she needed an additional course to continue receiving her salary supplements.
Debbie stated, “I am so excited about learning, not just teaching my children. I picked up this class to stay eligible for WAGE$ and it helped me so much. I have felt more confident and on board with our curriculum as my last college class covered it in depth! I believe WAGE$ has also helped me financially, in that I was able to pay for some of my schooling and also pick up dinners on the nights that I had the college classes. I am very thankful that WAGE$ has come into being because there are so many children that I would love to help more and having had this past college class, I can understand a lot more than I did before! They have so much to learn. If someone doesn’t teach them the right things, there will always be someone willing to teach them the wrong things.”
When Debbie first learned about WAGE$, she hesitated to apply because it seemed “too good to be true.” She is now very grateful for it. She even received a gift card for professional resources when she won a drawing as a WAGE$ survey respondent. She is excited about contributing supplies to her classroom. WAGE$ encouraged her to get more coursework even when she had a degree, and she knows that the knowledge she gained made a difference in her teaching.
Debbie said, “You all are a blessing. Having this additional compensation definitely makes it more possible for me to be able to stay in the field. I am so appreciative of Smart Start and the Division of Child Development and Early Education for providing this opportunity as it is most helpful for those of us who are trying our best to help children in every way possible.”
Debbie acknowledges that COVID-19 has changed the early childhood landscape, but she is happy to be working directly with her children in Surry County. “Parents are so bombarded and worried,” Debbie said. “They are tied up with possibly working from home and trying to help their children at the same time. Pre-K children have the opportunity to be in school in person and I’m thankful we are in session. I wear my mask and I’m careful about all the safety precautions. I’m following all the rules and teaching the children how to be safe. Kids are happy to please and they learn.”