It has begun. Something I never thought I’d do as a teacher: teaching the Growth and Development unit in Health to grade 8 students.
One thing I’ve certainly learned about teaching: if you’ve been in the game long enough, you’ll probably have the chance to teach every grade and every subject. Which I think I have.
I have only started the unit but I have had enough time to observe the behaviours of the students. They are street-smart on so many levels; however, they are reduced to a giggling mass, mainly the boys, when I am forthright in my terminology.
When I asked for their definitions of certain vocabulary, one word was “sexy.” In various classes, some boys mentioned “big b**bs” and “big butts.” When I told them to avoid slang, more than one boy was unaware that “b**bs” was slang. One even said, “Well I didn’t use the word, ‘t*ts’” and, after some thought, he finally said, “Oh, I mean ‘breasts.’”
I am intrigued about how what is considered acceptable language has changed since my time in grade 8, over 30 years ago. When I was in grade 8, we would have been sent to the office if we had used the word, “b**bs.” It is still unacceptable to me; however, these days, grade 8 students are probably bombarded by the word in the social media in which they are engaged.
To the boys who said “big b**bs” and “big butts,” I asked, “Do you think this is everyone’s idea of ‘sexy’ or just yours?” Surprisingly, they had to think about that one.
I know I have to be careful about how I teach this subject. There is such a proliferation of bullying these days concerning body image and I know that I have to play an extremely important role in curbing inappropriate comments and beliefs.
My journey continues.