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A PROFESSORS PERSPECTIVE ON MENTAL HEALTH
Shelita M Shaw began her teaching career over 20 years ago; and matriculated her way from primary and secondary schools to the collegiate level. She embarked on this journey with the attitude “education is a rare jewel in that it is one of the few careers where there is a daily exchange of knowledge and creativity.” Along this journey, one thing that continuously stuck out is how teachers (in addition to students) are also feeling overwhelmed and mentally drained. They have become an overlooked population that tend to go uncared for resulting in a broken spirit and “quiet quitting.”
Therefore, Shelita focuses a large part of her curriculum now on Mental Health Education; creating workshops and projects including anti-bully campaigns and incorporating mental health days into her curriculum for students and teachers to take a break to ensure Classroom Wellness. As Shelita has focused on Mental Health education, she spent a couple years co-teaching Black Male Leadership at Cook County Department of Corrections. This served as an opportunity to pour into the (often forgotten) incarcerated population.
Things are really taking shape as Shelita becoming the voice of Mental Health in Educators. She has traveled across the world speaking on Classroom Wellness, meeting with the likes of Atlanta Mayor Emeritus Shirley Franklin, Equal Justice Attorney, Bryan Stevenson and Chief Education Officer of the American Psychology Association, Cathi Grus. This journey has also led her to become a contributor in the publication, The Monitor, a commentator on WVON Radio, a spotlight feature in both Hope Magazine and Black Mental Wellness Corporation; an artist and storyteller with Erasing the Distance, as well as a guest on multiple popular podcasts including “Dumb. Gay. Politics.”, “Get Real With Dan’, and “One Story At A Time”. Shelita has also successfully worked with teachers from Chicago Public Schools, Gads Hill Center, University of Chicago and Johnson C. Smith University. This gave her the incredible opportunity to be a featured speaker at the 40th Annual Bermuda Union of Teachers Conference.
Shelita earned her B.A. in English from Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina; and her M.A. in English from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, where she graduated magna cum laude. Currently, Shelita teaches Composition and Literature courses at Moraine Valley Community College, where she was awarded tenure in spring of 2010: Innovator of the Year 2018; Professor of the Year nominee 2018 and 2019.