As I sit here and think back to PSHE class with you, my mind takes me back to the memory I have of you bringing us into the classroom very seriously. You were quick to settle us down—no nonsense, no chat. We were a bit of a wild bunch, to say the least; it was not always easy to rein us in, but you had our attention that morning.
We sat down at our desks, wondering what on earth was going on, and you took your usual spot behind your computer. With a few words about what we were doing today, you swiftly loaded up the PowerPoint. It didn’t take us long to realise what we would be learning about that session. Some of us looked forward to it (like myself), others dreaded the thought of it… We were learning about sex!
The presentation was a refresher on puberty and an introduction to intimate relationships. I’m not sure if you were embarrassed or if you felt like you’d drawn the short straw being lumbered with teaching sex to us unruly lot, but you remained behind the computer for the entire session, clicking and reading through the slides as quickly as you could. What stood out to me most was how the information seemed so simple when it was put to us in bite-sized pieces, but at the same time lacked clarity and context around key messages. For example, the advice “Don’t have sex until you’re ready”. What does that really mean? Sex education without proper explanation can be confusing, while oversimplifying the topic can be misleading.
Once the slideshow was over, you proceeded to load up the ‘educational’ video. (Why does every person you talk to have a memory of watching a video from their sex education that was weird, outdated, or awkward?!) It was that odd docufilm that followed two teenage characters (a cis-heterosexual boy and a girl) as they grew through the stages of puberty and their journey of sexual attraction to one another. It had to have been at least 10 years old, and the storyline was beyond dramatic, not to mention lacking in representation. It made it incredibly challenging to stay focused as kids who found banter in absolutely everything!
Just as you managed to settle us down, it was time to wrap the lesson up because the school bell had just rung. It was all over so fast. There was little time to have a discussion about the lesson or to ask any questions.