I Feel Dirty

Today we wrapped up sex ed. I taught the boys all week and enjoyed it. They asked some good questions and I felt like I got to address some misunderstandings. However, today was the day where we had to push the abstinence message, and I felt dirty the whole time.

Apparently, I am not allowed to teach “personal values,” but am instead supposed to teach “universal values such as abstinence.”

Well, the universe my school district resides in must be pretty frickin’ small if abstinence until you’re in a “monogamous, committed marriage” is a “universal value.”

I tried so hard to be subversive.

I choked back a lot of stuff today and slipped in “committed relationship” as much as possible. I said “boyfriend or girlfriend” and “husband or wife” or “partner.” A few boys caught it and asked about it, but I ignored them and kept doing it. I entirely—due only to time, I assure you, yeah—skipped the bit about how a “consequence of not abstaining” is “emotional turmoil” and “getting a bad reputation.”

I got a lot of questions I couldn’t answer on the anonymous question cards today. Questions about masturbation and condoms. I flat out said, “As an employee in this district, I am not allowed to discuss this with you. I need you to PLEASE ask someone outside of the school.”

But one question, I just could not skip. One of the boys wrote on the anonymous question card: is sex bad?

I read it out loud and I sat there in silence for a while. One of the boys said, “Well. Do you think it’s good or bad?”

I finally said, “I don’t think sex is good or bad. I think someone can make strong or weak choice about sex. Unfortunately, a lot of choices that seem strong at the time are weak. And people don’t realize it until later.”

I didn’t put any age/social/marital status points on it. Because at any age, people can make poor decisions about sex!

Ugh. I felt dirty all day today.

One thought on “I Feel Dirty

  1. Comment from: becca [Visitor] · http://thickaswhatall.blogspot.com
    That really sucks that you have to push their agenda on these kids, but that sounds like you did the best you could do. And that was a really good way to answer that last question. Probably why you’re a teacher :)
    12/19/08 @ 19:29

    Comment from: Shelley [Visitor] · http://shelleythetraveler.blogspot.com
    Oh, I don’t envy you! What a difficult thing to do. I know I would have broken all kinds of rules.I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when it comes to my beliefs. In a world where people don’t get married now until they are 30, is it still realistic to ask them to wait until then?? I mean of course 30-50 years ago people got married at 18 and 19 years old, and so it wasn’t such a stretch to wait until marriage.
    I’m 32…..and ya, well, you know ;)
    And second of all, people are choosing not to get married, so I think it’s irresponsible of schools to not give the kids the information they need to stay safe and how to not be a pregnant teen.
    Amanda you did the best you could with the situation you were in. It’s great your students have you!
    And yes we can make bad decision about sex no matter what age we are….I hope that point is what is sticks with these kids.
    12/20/08 @ 04:09

    Comment from: t-hype [Visitor] · http://t-hype.blogspot.com
    I’m sure you did a good job. That’s interesting about the abstinence-only education. I guess that’s why so many people complain about it.

    I’m all for teaching abstince but for God’s sake, even back in the day when I was in school it was kind of up to the teachers whether or not to answer the anonymous questions. I specifically remember my sex-ed teacher in middle school telling us not to relax, perm, or dye our pubes. She was quite a character! I don’t know if that was an actual question or just a gem of wisdom she wanted to share with young, curious minds. HILARIOUS.

    Then there was the one high school teacher who asked us if we wanted her to bring in a condom and demonstrate its usuage on a banana. Even in a school of highly promiscuous teens, NO ONE bought into that idea. I’m rambling…

    I guess, for what it’s worth, you were very right to talk about wise decisions. I would think that a curriculum focused on abstinence would make that a major focus but I guess not. If it makes you feel any better, I think studies show that kids who get abstinence education do abstain…for about two years or so. lol.
    12/21/08 @ 09:30

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    I’ve read the studies that say they abstain for a TINY bit longer…and then they engage in riskier behavior!!

    Also, since we’re not allowed to discuss anal or oral sex, they think ONLY PIV sex is “sex.” So they can go practice oral and anal sex till the cows go home, but they’re still “abstaining!”

    The thing is, the abstinence-only education curriculum says that the ONLY wise choice is to abstain. That’s it. No if, ands, buts, or whens.
    12/21/08 @ 09:35

    Comment from: John from Daejeon [Visitor]
    In my school district, the onus was on the parents to teach their children how they wanted them to be taught, but they were given pretty thorough pamphlets explaining the ins and outs or human reproduction and other sexual matters as an aide. We did have a high number of students with incarcerated parents who were being raised by grandparents and foster parents, so a professional was brought in to deal with those students and any others whose parents deemed needed more instruction than what they could provide themselves. The district had been sued in the past because of some misunderstanding or other during these lessons, so to protect their teachers this turned out to be a really good thing for all of us.
    12/21/08 @ 09:56

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