Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dr. Alex

Part of the Grade 10 Life Orientation curriculum is a unit on Puberty and Sex Education. 54 teenagers and early 20-somethings and me, talking about testicles and menstruation and ejaculation and sex and penis growth. Fun times! Before getting underway I gave the whole “It’s okay to giggle, but we’re all adults here so lets try and behave appropriately” schpeel. Then we dove in.

While some of them were aware of the changes that bodies go through during this period of physical maturation, for many of them I believe this was the first time someone had actually spoken about why and how these things happen. This class of 54 hormone-riddled young adults were silent as I spoke about semen and fertilization and conception and wet dreams and pubic hair. There were giggles of course, but for the most part they were well into it.

When talking about the widening of the hips that happens to women in preparation for carrying a child, one of the boys asked me if a woman’s hips didn’t widen a lot if it was bad or wrong. Clearly the most narrow-hipped woman in this class of gorgeous curvy African girls, I resisted the urge to yell “I sure hope not!”, and instead responded that no, it’s not bad or wrong. That there is no right or good way to be. Many things influence how we are shaped and look (even gave a very brief explanation of Genetics – Saf you would have been so proud!) That every woman (and man’s) body is different, and that is okay. No one is perfect and yet at the same time we are all perfect. Looking at their curious wide-eyed and impressionable young faces, I started to get a bit carried away in telling them how beautiful they all are but stopped myself before it got out of hand.

When the bell rang I told them that I would see them next week (as they only have Life Orientation twice a week). “Not until next week?!” a couple of them exclaimed. Awwww :)

Am unsure if it is my teaching or the prospect of talking about sex that has them engaged, but either way, I’ll take it.

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