This past week, I ended the unit on Growth and Development for my Grade 8 Health classes.
Though they are streetwise, living in an inner city area, the students still display signs of inexperience. We often take for granted that their straightforward language and their outgoing personalities indicate that they are independent and knowledgeable about everything. However, when teaching them, we can see plainly that they still need guidance; they still depend on teachers as parental figures and role models.
One of the topics I focused on this week was birth control. There were honest questions raised about how babies are conceived. The students were all aware that pregnancy is a possibility as a result of vaginal intercourse; however, some were not so sure about the results of anal intercourse. Or could even say “anal intercourse” for that matter.
Also, when I talked to them about methods of birth control, there were quite a few students, including girls, who were not aware that condoms for females existed. And some of those who were aware, did not know how they worked.
We touched briefly on STDs and how they can be transferred through unprotected sex. There was the usual, expected array of questions such as, “Can one die by having an STD?”
In the next school year, I will most likely be teaching another subject other than Phys. Ed. and Health but I can say with honesty that teaching Health to young teens has been an eye-opening experience for me.