Shellie Walters, Sumner, WA
Shellie Waters joined the WE LEARN Board of Directors in 2010. She is also active on both the Women’s Perspectives and Conference committees. She is an ABE student and leader. She always works to develop other students around her. In addition to her work at WE LEARN, Shellie is the Vice Chair for the Student Advisory Council for ProLiteracy. She is also involved in the Seattle Speakers Bureau and helps to recruit new students to join.
These are some thoughts Shellie included in her introduction to 2010 Women’s Perspectives #6.
“As students, we often put ourselves down. We don’t think we can do anything. We put ourselves down just because we can’t read or write well or can’t do math, and maybe we don’t have a very good education or had bad experiences in school. We didn’t think we could be good or useful until we had a good education.
But what were we doing with what we DID have before we came into a literacy program?....
Women who have poor reading and writing still have lots of other skills, though they might not recognize them as important. …. So, when we come back to school, we’re seen as lacking. We celebrate our school successes AFTER we come back, but we forget that we were also productive before!
We have always found ways to make things work in our lives. We have skills in everyday survival beyond what reading can teach us, but we forget we have these coping/surviving skills. For example, many women have a good work ethic. They are good workers and are able to keep a job. When women come back to school, the teachers or tutors get focused on how much education they don’t have rather than how they are or what they can already do….
As students, we need to have a look at what we DO have rather than what we don’t have. We DO have an important point of view. We ARE already making contributions to society, and they will become stronger with more education.”