10-11 The Joys of Teaching or How I am Going to be Pigeonholed into a Sex Educator for the Rest of my Life

The 11th and 12th grade classrooms on a windy day.
I thought that in being a Community Health Volunteer, I would be discussing a wide variety of issues. I might work on a vaccination program or hygiene and sanitation improvements. Maybe I’d travel to villages to talk about NCDs and do NCD screenings. I could help with the weekly early childhood nutrition days or do anatomy lessons in a kindergarten. What have I been doing since I ot back from New Zealand? Teaching sex ed in a high school. What are my plans for Friday? Teaching sex ed to the teachers at the high school. Next week? I’m supposed to start the planning process for 4 sex ed workshops in my district.
I have been doing “health” class with the 9th and 10th graders since April. I quickly realized that “health” was code word for “sex ed.” I don’t come every week, or I didn’t first term and the beginning of second term due to workshops. Towards the end of last term, I started coming more regularly. Now, Jason is in Australia and I’m running classes on my own. Well, sort of on my own. My lovely and wonderful neighbor up the hill has been helping me and the two English volunteers in Melsisi are giving me a hand this week.
Last week, Alexandra and I did a two-hour AIDS workshop. We took the co-ed class of 10thgraders and tried to keep them focused for two hours while talking about sex. They did ok, though we ended up breaking them up into boys and girls. Then we did the same with the 9thgraders. They did not do ok. They were atrocious. So, I started today’s lesson with a discussion about appropriate behavior and a reminder that I don’t need to be in their class. I think it was the right tone with which to start a condom lesson.
The view from the classrooms.  Not distracting at all.

Halfway through the lesson I had to ask myself, how is it that I am once again standing up in front of people talking about sex? And why is it that I never blush? It seems to be that I will forever be the person who doesn’t flinch from talking about sex. I can remember being the go-to person in high school for sex questions, if I didn’t know I’d go ask my dad and find out. Then it happened again in college. I figured when I graduated from college, the time period in which people need lots of questions answered by a friend would be past. Not so, I continued to be the main person to ask random questions about birth control, STIs and general reproductive health.

I guess I better get really good at talking about sex because it seems to be that I will be doing it for the rest of my life. I can think of worse fates. My dad will be happy and sex is interesting.

EDIT 11-30: Two days ago I was asked by a woman from another NGO in Vanuatu to do a day of anatomy and physiology and family planning for her 5 day sexual and reproductive health workshop.  They will be flying me into Vila for it and putting me up at a hotel with a per diem.  They offered to pay me, but I can’t take money due to Peace Corps restrictions.  I guess I really am starting to be known as a sex educator…

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