Taylor Greer: Thoughts about Doubt and Dad

May 23, 2023

“I try to be my best for the young children I serve,” Taylor says. “I want to prepare them for life by helping them become the best people they can be and by teaching them right from wrong. So, we talk a lot about kindness, loving others, helping others. And the children get it. They’re pretty good at sharing, which is hard for a lot of young children, and they do special things for their little friends,” as Taylor is delighted to see.

She’s good at imparting life lessons to kids, though she’s only 18 and still a senior in high school. “I have a fair amount of practice working with children since I have a lot of younger siblings who are close in age,” she says, “and I helped my mom bring them up. So, I’ve always had a motherly side, and now I’m extending it to nurture other people’s young children.”

The children she serves spend their days at Corry Alliance Childcare in Pennsylvania, where Taylor has worked for the past two years while earning her Child Development Associate® (CDA) Credential™. “I heard about the CDA® when I attended an assembly at Corry High School Career and Technical Education Center,” she says, “and I was attracted to the program because I’ve always been drawn to the child care field.” And this strong sense of motivation helped her complete the CDA® process, though some of the students who started the CDA® with her dropped out of the program.

“You have to love young children and want to make a difference in their lives to earn a CDA®,” she says, “and I guess some of my fellow high school students lacked that motivation. But my commitment to being in the ECE field for the rest of my life got me though all the steps involved in the CDA® process.”

She’s glad she did because earning a CDA® gave her the confidence she often lacks. “I have a tendency to doubt myself,” she says, “so earning a CDA® helped me a lot. It made me feel that I already knew more than most people my age about how to help young children develop and grow. In addition, I also picked up some new strategies for engaging with children and communicating with them. Everything I learned during the CDA® process just clicked with me,” she says, and that was apparent when Taylor had her CDA® assessment.

“My PD Specialist watched me for two hours,” she says, “and was impressed with my strengths, especially when I read a book to the children. She liked how I entertained the children by using different voices and tones for different characters in the book. She also liked how I engaged the kids by asking them a lot of questions while I was reading. My only major weakness, as my PD Specialist pointed out, is that I tend to be a little quiet.”

That’s because Taylor is a bit shy and often questions herself. So, it’s a good thing she has someone in her corner. “My CTE teacher has been a big source of inspiration and support,” Taylor says. “She’s helped make me a better me by helping me believe in myself when I feel I’m being judged by other folks”—something that she fears. But her strong sense of faith helps her surmount these self-doubts. “Reading the Bible reminds me that God loves me and he’s the only one I should worry about judging me,” Taylor says.

And she also draws a lot of support from other teachers at Corry Alliance Childcare. “I have a good team,” she explains. “They help me if any minor issues come up, such as how to engage with a child who won’t listen to me.” And that happens from time to time as Taylor admits “because “I’m a pushover for the kids, especially the ones who are three to five years old.”

At this age, they’re old enough to know a lot, as Taylor explains. “I like how they talk and respond when we do activities together,” she says. “I enjoy the time we spend doing puzzles, arts and crafts, and painting,” she says. “Most of all, I like working with them one on one so I can get an even better idea of what their abilities are and how they think.”

She’s committed to preparing them well for the future because of a tragedy that she suffered in the past. “My father passed away when I was 13 years old,” Taylor says. “His death took a toll on me and made me grow up fast. It also made me realize I wanted to make him proud. That pushed me into what I’m doing now and increased my commitment to connecting with the children I serve. And I want to continue working with them next year at Corry Alliance Childcare while I attend the PennWest Edinboro campus of Pennsylvania Western University and earn my BA in early childhood education.”

Taylor doesn’t want to leave the children behind when she goes to school because she has formed strong ties with her little students. “One three-year-old boy gives me a hug every time he sees me,” Taylor says. And there’s a four-year-old who hates baked beans and has a special bond with Taylor that touches her heart. “He’s very funny, active, outgoing and good at making his feelings known,” she explains. “Every day when he sees me, he says, ‘Taylor, you’re the best.’” So, Taylor may question herself, but there is no question about her skills in the early childhood classroom.

Recently she was even selected as the Corry Elks Club Student of the Month. This award is given each month to an outstanding Corry student for scholastic and community achievements. It’s an honor that should end her self-doubts and would surely have made her dad very proud.

 

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