I’ve never been one for talking out loud
About sex and anatomy and bodily functions
But now I am faced with thirty young people
Looking to me with a clicker in hand
And a power point slideshow not written by me.
I find myself squirming and wishing away
This half hour of words that make me blush.
I have a tutor group of Year 8 students and we are supposed to do PSHE lessons with them. It’s such a vital part of our education system, but OMG, it’s scary to deliver these lessons about the birds and the bees to a bunch of 13 year olds.
The big problem is that teachers don’t really get any training to deliver these lessons. I remember my first one I did covered every kind of sex you could have and I was cringing almost as much as they class were sniggering.
What makes it worse is that we don’t know what our students are going through outside of school and I am always desperately worried that I’m going to offend or upset someone.
It’s an absolute minefield and I wish that I could get out of it, but there is no wriggling out of it. I’m just going to have to get over myself and give it my best shot. I worry that actually my botched efforts may be better than anything some of them are getting at home….
11 thoughts on “the birds and the bees”
I think you put your finger on the biggest challenge, Rachel. Most teachers don’t get preparation for teaching this topic. They don’t know how to approach it, and they have their own views of sex and sexuality. It makes it very challenging, especially since, as you say, one doesn’t know what these kids have already experienced.
I reckon most of these kids have more knowledge than me anyway.
Must be difficult for the pupils, too. Just that generational difference. I remember picking my knowledge up from peers, not teachers.
I think most people do have a cobbled together picture of how everything works. Sad but true.
I grieve for the lack of training. It would at least give everyone a similar and better place to start and for colleagues to have easier, more practical conversations (or conversations at all).
Yes, and it’s a shame because the staff member who wrote all the material worked so hard to have someone like me fluff up the delivery!
Ouch. I can see how sex ed would be difficult. You’d think they would have given you some training.
I know! It’s terrifying.
Many years ago, a female teacher friend of mine told this story, working with 11-12-year-olds. Remember, i wasn’t there, so I’m paraphrasing and might be getting a few details wrong.
Teacher: If we’re going to get through this unit, we need to make sure we’re comfortable using certain vocabulary. (Teacher writes PENIS on board) Class, what does this say?
Teacher. Say the word.
Students: (giggle, some of them say penis nervously or while laughing)
Teacher: Say it loud.
Teacher: Scream it. Be loud and confident, so you get comfortable with the word.
Students: PENIS!!! PENIS!!! PENIS!!!
(Another teacher walks by, hears the commotion, and opens the door. I don’t remember his name, I’ll call him Mr. Smith.)
Mr. Smith: What’s going on in here?
Teacher: Class, tell Mr. Smith what we’re learning about today.
(I don’t know if I’d recommend doing this, but it’s funny to imagine)
Definitely going to get them to scream out words for boobs as loud as they can!
On a related note, I’m just gonna leave this here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RuEVNr8gdPc