the birds and the bees

photo of yellow and blue macaw with one wing open perched on a wooden stick
Photo by Couleur on

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….

Much Love

Rachel xx

11 thoughts on “the birds and the bees

  1. Margot Kinberg

    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.

  2. clcouch123

    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).

  3. Greg Dennison

    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?
    Students: (giggle)
    Teacher. Say the word.
    Students: (giggle, some of them say penis nervously or while laughing)
    Teacher: Say it loud.
    Students: Penis.
    Teacher: Again.
    Students: Penis.
    Teacher: Scream it. Be loud and confident, so you get comfortable with the word.
    Students: PENIS!!!!
    Teacher: Again!
    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.
    Students: PENIS!!!!!!

    (I don’t know if I’d recommend doing this, but it’s funny to imagine)

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