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Learning from the Frontline Warriors in Education

I am on the "in-road" track

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I am on the "in-road" track to education, looking to change careers. However, I find my experience with youth carries over. Working in Christian ministry, I once thought it was not appropriate to expose children and youth to "all the options" assuming they would choose the option that would keep them out of trouble while entering into promiscuous relationships. However, the more I speak with students the more I realize that most do not desire "one night stands" and simply want to feel trusted by the authorities in their lives to make the right decisions based on the options available.

One fault I find with so many public schools is the tendency to divorce this subject from the family. This is a sensitive topic that carries "values" language and should incorporate the family at all possible levels. Schools should not take the place of the parent, but rather support parent/child conversation, especially in the area of their sexuality.

9th grade health and physical education teacher

Abstinene based.

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I work in a very conservative school district that wants an abstinence based 9th grade health program. We spend a lot of time talking about relationships and consequences of having sexual intercourse (STI's, pregnancy, emotions). Unforturnately, many of the students want more information on contraceptives. A lot of the questions that ask show that there is a lot of misinformation out there. Many of the parents though do not want us to teach their children about contraceptives. I highly doubt that they talk about it either, and so they go through the rest of their high school and college without much needed information.

chemistry and biology teacher, San Francisco CA

I agree

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I work at an all-girls Catholic high-school in San Francisco, and it is shocking what they don't know. We have a 9th grade PE/health class, but it is only one semester. At one time, we had a 9th grade integrated science class, and we covered human reproduction, but the UC's refused to recognize integrated courses anymore, so it gave way to Conceptual Physics. What does this mean? What is covered in 9th grade health is very limited. They know very little by the time I meet them in 10th grade biology.

My students have so many questions about their bodies. They really don't understand the digestive system or what choking is or any of the "basics," especially and including human reproduction. When we get to human reproduction, we go over it all: male and female anatomy, identical and fraternal and conjoined twins, fetal development, STIs, birth control. Yes, I get to teach them about birth control at a Catholic school, as long as I explain the position of the church. Our health insurance won't cover birth control pills, but I can teach it in the classroom. I have the honors students study the menstrual cycle in this unit as well, since understanding that hormonal cycle is basically the same as understanding how birth control pills work.

I don't know what SFUSD's policies are, but if I can teach it all in a Catholic school, it would be pretty sad if it wasn't getting taught elsewhere. Is it effective? Yes, I think so, but I wish I was teaching them this stuff when they were 6th or 7th graders, not 10th graders.

Feel free to email me for lesson planning materials.

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