Women, girls & education

Man it’s been a busy month. For the past few weeks I’ve been working on my very first educational research paper. By research paper I don’t mean the ‘find 5 sources to support your ideas’ kind, but the ‘find a hole in all educational research, review 15+ sources scholarly studies, determine the problem and propose how you could address this in the educational research field’ kind. If you’re reading this and it’s something you’re good at…give me a shout. I think I could use a pep talk haha!

Image result for half the sky quotesIt just so happens that my free time has been consisted of reading and addressing women’s issues, so naturally when I had to choose a topic for this research paper my eyes turned to women in education.

Over the past month or so I had the privilege of reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn.

I’ve also been able to read and watch Girl Rising, a film and adapted book that follow the stories of young women and girls in communities around the world that limit their access to education based on their gender.

Also as part of a group I volunteer with, called the Open World Cause, we are working on developing a new project called What Will I Become. It’s been a really cool learning experience for me as I work with two other brilliant women in the cause that have amazing experiences abroad. We are working on surveys to talk with women in the Nepali community we’ll be visiting this summer to learn more about their education, the expectations laid upon them, and their dreams. In the end we hope to create a curriculum that can be used here in the United States within k-12 classrooms.

Talk about Girl Power.

This morning, after reading 10 studies about gender stereotyping and adequacy of curriculum relating to women representation, I was feeling EMPOWERED. If I’ve learned anything through these articles, the books, and the documentaries, it could be summed up in a few bullet points:

  • Educating girls changes communities, changes their futures, teaches them skills to support families, reduces number of pregnancies, reduces sex trafficking and helps break cycles of poverty.
  • Education in general addresses changes that need to be made in order to lower the maternal mortality rate.
  • Education informs communities of vital changes that need to be made in respect to gender based violence and traditions that are harmful to women’s health.
  • Education that addresses equality and importance of both women and men shapes the thinking of our students.
  • Educators must be aware of the materials being used, and choose literature and resources that show the importance of diversity to our students. That is just as much something they need to learn, as any other subject in school (if you ask me).

Though there are approximately 129468 other things I’ve learned, these are a few points that have stuck with me. This isn’t a blog post saying women are better than men, but saying that women should be valued for the amazing contributions they can make in this world. Men supporting women in communities around the world help make this viewpoint a reality in many cultures, hence the importance of educating men on these issues as well.

It’s always good to challenge your viewpoint and learn something new.

Follow the links about to watch or read some of the resources I’ve be reading/watching above. Enjoy these words, grab some wine, maybe your favorite women, and have some awesome discussions.

 

 

 

~Shelby

A Lesson in Authenticity- Rupi Kaur

Thank you Rupi Kaur, for yet again having me stop and think.

It’s crazy, but true to think we spend many years trying to be the person we think we SHOULD be. That ‘should’ word can be dangerous.

It’s only in the past couple years that I’ve realized the peace that comes from acknowledging my own interests, talents, skillsets, and self.

It’s also the last couple years that have been hard to become that person, defying what others mental image of me is. Some friends and family may have you pegged as one thing, but don’t be afraid to show them something else. Authenticity is worth it.

The truth is, since day one you’ve had the strength to be you. It’s worldliness, and lies that teach you other wise.

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Educated

This December I had the privilege of reading Educated by Tara Westover. I’ll be honest, I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into. Thinking it would be more about the education aspect of Tara’s life than her life growing up without it, I was shocked and in awe of her courage as the story unfolds. Her memoir tells of her life growing up without education and how she breaks away from her eccentric family, going to college and eventually getting a PhD.

When we read books we often picture ourselves in the shoes of the main character. I found myself identifying with her desire to believe everything her family said growing up and struggling to realize their beliefs didn’t have to define her. Education, and I would throw in travel as well, opens your eyes from what your small world is to what it could be. Wrestling with changing your beliefs as an adult is an internal struggle that is almost impossible to verbalize.

Two quotes in her book struck me. First:

“It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.”
Tara Westover, Educated

The people you love, the people you spend your time with, shape who you are. What do you do when you find yourself in an unexpected disagreement with a friend? How is it possible this family member can think so differently than me? Perhaps the hardest part of growing up is realizing that all the people you hold dear won’t always agree with you. People that you work with with and meet might not even LIKE you.

This can either be your greatest defeat, or greatest asset. The ability to love someone despite your differences is powerful. The same goes for yourself. You must still love and believe in yourself; you must be ok knowing that you might be different than the people you hold love.

Tara found that in her book. She found a way to respect her family without condoning their behavior. She has not cheated what she believes to be right, even though it meant losing people she thought would be there for her forever.

The second quote I loved was:

“We are all of us more complicated than the roles we are assigned in the stories other people tell”
Tara Westover, Educated: A Memoir

The truth is, no one in this world can know you like you do. Family, friends, colleagues know us for different reasons. So what happens when you start to grow or change? I like this quote because Tara describes something many of us have felt. Growing up, learning, and molding into the humans we want to be might mean changing what you previously agreed on with friends.

Just because someone has assigned you as a specific role in their head does not mean you are obligated to fulfill that role for them. Ultimately you must be confident in what you know, strong in how you do it, and have faith that you are on the right path. For me, that’s learning to listen and wait for God’s direction. For you, that might mean simply believing in yourself and not what others tell you is true.

As we move into 2019 I’m encouraging myself and others to be the best authentic version of themselves. What’s the point of people pleasing if it means losing yourself in the process? You can do this!

Happy New Year

~Shelby

P.S. Read Educated.  Grab a glass of wine. Enjoy!

Celebrate Like it’s National Wine Day!

A message from Shelby’s mom #Chris on this holiday!

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Wine

I LOVE WINE.  The kind of love where I curl up in a chair with my feet under me. I exhale a relaxing breath, smile, close my eyes, and breathe in the oak barrel smell while soft music plays in the background. Ahhh, I can picture it now; an evening on the patio savoring those familiar, relaxing experiences. Pure relaxation.

One of my favorite things about wine is that it brings friends together. I love it because it tends to be a common ingredient for girlfriend time. We can kick it and sip for HOURS.

You know what I am talking about…”kick it” with friends. Relax somewhere with other people, not doing anything in particular. Everyone can relate to “girlfriend time.” That moment of connecting with women through quality time and conversation. Sippin’ wine is the catalyst to quality time with those we care about.

 

The path of love is the path
of bravery and, then, if we are
lucky, genuine connection based
on genuine communication.

This is the only love that
is invincible, for it can handle
change, it can manage confusion.
Love is found only in this genuinity.

~ Waylon Lewis

 

Women

Ladies, sometimes we forget to relax. Have you made yourself a priority lately? There is nothing quite like a recharge you get from girlfriend time. Everyone benefits from the positivity of the encounter. It really isn’t about the wine. It is about the shared experience with those you care most about. Wine is the conversation starter.

 

Word

Does anyone know which page of the bible explains how to turn water into wine? Asking for a friend…Ok ok, the silly part of me is starting to show. So if you want to know how I live my wine/women/word I have guiding principles as I navigate this thing called life.

Principle 1
I need a glass of wine.
Or a bottle.
Or a winery in Italy.

Principle 2
Friendships must be built on a solid foundation of wine, sarcasm, and shenanigans.

Principle 3
Always keep a bottle of wine in the fridge for special occasions. Like Wednesday.

Remember to do some sippin’ and kickin’ and celebrate every day like its National Wine Day! Grab a friend, have a chat and enjoy a sunshine-on-a-patio filled happy hour.

 

#Chris

Last Day of School

I work as an elementary Tech Teacher. This is the end of my first year here at my school. As I let kids out of their cars at bus duty this morning I found myself saying, “We did it! It’s the last day of school!”

This “I did it feeling” is pretty triumphant for me today. The kids kind of smile and go on their way like, “yeah Mrs. Miller, we came to school, no big deal.” But all I feel is this giddiness to think that I MADE IT.

This time a year ago I was doing graphic design freelance and working in a church. I was doing many things I enjoyed, but was still feeling unfulfilled. On a whim I applied to an Instructional Aide position in an elementary school. The posting said I would be able to work in various classrooms, help with lessons and be a support for the teachers.

I’ve always had an interest in education. Through college I traveled and worked with 3 different schools in Peru, Jamaica and Nepal. I made advocacy posters for education on campus and read with 2nd graders a couple hours a week. It’s funny how God can be working in your life despite what you’re pursuing on your own. I love design stuff, don’t get me wrong. I think God knew I was an achiever…that he’d be able to use my design skills to bring me to the place he wanted me all along.

A principal emailed me last June and said he saw my resume. He said there was a Technology Teacher position open and that with my design and tech background I’d be a great candidate. That week I went in for an interview (knowing almost nothing except that I REALLY wanted to know more). I would go on to take the job and start my Master’s in Education within the following school year.

My design job got me into a school before I’ve finished my teaching degree. God worked with my heart to help me say NO to my other jobs and YES to the opportunity he wanted me in. It’s so crazy to see the puzzle pieces come together.

So here I am, one year later. I learned how to write lessons and teach them. I got to be creative and have fun and build relationships with all the students in my school. A family gave me a mug today that says “Teaching is a work of heart.” I cried a little, not going to lie. When you’re on the right path you’ll know because of this full-hearted feeling. The feeling of being filled up by goodness. I did not see this coming.

Happy summer to all my teacher friends! And to my students- I can’t wait to see you next year!

~Shelby

 

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Rupi Kaur & Purple Moon Wine #WineWomenWordWednesday

Wine:

Ladies, grab a glass of wine tonight because YOU DESERVE IT. Not that you need a reason to treat yo’self, of course. I’m having a glass tonight for self care, for relaxation and to enjoy the complexity of something so simple. I’ll admit I’m writing this before Wednesday. I’m sipping on a Trader Joes wine called Purple Moon Merlot. I’ve always had a love of full moons and their beauty so that’s the real reason I was drawn to this one (I can’t help but love the designs). Coming in well under $10 it was worth the investment, plus I loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

As I sip I read my combined Women & Word section posted below. This poem is so simple and yet impactful. Each of you, though pretty, are born with so much to be proud of. You were born on this earth for a specific purpose only YOU can fulfill. Don’t forget that and don’t forget to keep striving for your greatness. Remind a friend today of all they are worth and that they are important.

Women & Word:

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rupi kaur instagram

 

~Shelby