Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Teaching in the Classroom

Summer is over and school is starting and I am just getting back into routine. So, as I was doing that, I had the opportunity to be a guest on our local radio station CJOB with Richard Cloutier.

(You can listen to the show via the audio vault: Sept 2/10 am)

The subject of the morning was talking about sex with kids, specifically in the school system. It was felt that attitudes have positively changed regarding sex and its discussion with parents. Today, kids and parents are more likely to communicate regarding the issue but most kids and parents will say that it is not a comfortable or easy conversation.

However, with all the openness regarding sexuality in the media and airwaves one school division in Winnipeg has The “HAM rule.” This rule basically says that teachers are not to talk about homosexuality, abortion and masturbation unless the kids bring it up. And if the kids bring it up the teachers are warned not to offer a personal opinion. What!!!? No personal opinion! How can one not have a personal opinion on these issues?

I realize, as a parent, that when a teacher pours into my kids they are pouring more than just unbiased facts, whether I like it or not they are pouring their own biases. I am wondering what you think about this topic? I know that many of you are educators and your opinion is valued. Thoughts?


Manetheren said...

I remember that my high school teachers usually refused to offer their own opinion on popular matters when asked. That was back in the late 80s. Of course, no matter how objectively one tries to discuss an issue, one's personal biases will always come through, i.e. there is no such thing as truly unbiased history. So, yay for homeschooling, since my kids' teacher is allowed to state her opinions freely.

name withheld on grounds it could incriminate me said...

I am a high school teacher, and I give my own opinions. My students and I discuss many issues - world issues, drinking/partying on the weekend, even religion, and yes, sometimes (rarely) sexuality comes up. I am careful but honest.

We talk about making good choices - and what is a good choice? Many students I have seen don't seem to have anyone older they can be honest with. Parents skirt the tough topics, or don't even talk about it at all. Students talk about sex more with other students! Personally, I think that parents need to take more responsibility to discuss this with their children. (key word: discuss)

Bowering said...

I think this is a very sticky issue for many teachers. The issues of sexuality comes up very often in my classroom and I find myself explaining many issues to my students, as where I teach many of the students are not informed on many of the sexual terms, sexual choices and most of the time they read something or see something on TV and it needs to be explained b/c they just don't understand or haven't even heard of the term before. Our conversations on sex are usually fairly in depth and we come out of it learning a lot.
When explaining things to my students, for instance if we discuss pregnancy, I then explain to them that the woman/man has the following choices, I will explain all of them to the student then almost always they ask me what my choice is or my opinion, and I am honest and tell them this is what I believe. I think we need to be careful as educators but at the same time I think our students want our opinions and in turn I believe there is more respect from our students and they trust us more when we are plain out honest.

My students tell me that they smoke pot, steal, or drink and drive.... I am honest with them and tell them the ramifications of these choices and again what I believe, so if I can be honest in the classroom about these issues, I would surely hope that I can be honest on issues of sexuality. Note that I am careful as an educator as to what I say but at the same I value the honesty that I share between myself and my students.
I know that as my children grow and enter the school system that they minds will be filled with different opinions but I also know that my husband and I will instill our boys with Christian morals and that even though in the classroom they will receive many opinions and choices -I want my children to feel comfortable to talk to us about anything, yes the issue of sex and its topics isn't always the most fun conversation to have but I would hope they make the right choice, not only in these issues but in all issues that face them in life.