Friday, March 10, 2006

Health Class

I sometimes think back to the obligatory semester of "health" I was required to take my sophomore year of high school. These thoughts are almost always accompanied by the phrase "what the hell?" I cannot think of a class that was more pointless or mind-numbing, not to mention, on occasion, misinforming. This was a health class that was taught at a public high school in a liberal area- there were no bible-thumping zealots keeping us from learning about evolution or the like.

I've redesigned my high school's health curriculum to contain information that I actually could have used, or, at the very least, found interesting.

1. Show us the difference between a circumcised penis and an uncircumsized one. Just a simple diagram labeled "foreskin" and "no foreskin" will do. I don't want to have to search online for penises because I don't know what the differences look like.

2. Stop it with the misinformation and scare tactics. Showing us a video entitled "The Miracle of Life" where a woman gives birth on camera isn't celebrating the "miracle of life" and you know it. You showed it to us to keep us from having sex(do you want this to happen to your vagina, girls?). It just pushed us towards oral and anal. And the video where the girl tells us that you can get pregnant any time of the month? We all knew that wasn't the case.

3. Do tell us the truth. Portray childbirth in a realistic but not frightening and negative manner. Tell us how ovulation works and that, yes, women can only get pregnant at certain times in their cycle, but that these cycles, especially a teenager's, can be extremely erratic and hard to predict.

4. The "abstinence only" lady was pointless. We were all sad that she lost her ability to have children due to a sexually transmitted disease, even though she used condoms every time. However, that could have been avoided if she had had regular STD screenings and had been seeing a gynecologist on a regular basis. No, I'm not saying it was her fault- but when you become an educator who talks to kids, it's your responsibility to give them all the facts.

5. Tell us about rape. We watched one stupid video on it. We were given no resources about how to deal with, or how to report it. We weren't told how frequently it happens. There's a very good chance that someone in that class had already been molested or raped, and I'm pretty damn sure that idiotic video was a slap in the face to what they had had to deal with.

6. Discuss the iffy topics. Don't avoid abortion or homosexuality or transgender/transsexuality or religion or whatever. I'm not saying have a debate, I'm saying, at the very least, give these kids some information on the subjects that isn't horribly biased or secondhand.

7. For the love of god, tell us about yeast infections!

8. Discuss pads, tampons, and alternative menstruation products. I don't care if the guys get bored- it's something that needs to be done.

9. While you're at it, why not teach us CPR and general first aid? Now that would be useful.

Here's a photo of me disgusted by my red slip.

Photography by Ricky; January 2006.


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