Friday, December 09, 2005

AIDS prevention with covered eyes

I'm not trained to teach the mandatory AIDS prevention curriculum. The state is very careful to regulate everything we can say, cannot say, can show, cannot show, etc. So we've been sitting in on another teacher's class. This woman is great. At first I got really angry because she's super conservative, religious, and (as she puts it) "I never even knew what most of this was until I had to teach it."

Today was STD day. Here are possible STDs you can get, how they are transmitted, how they will affect you. She spent the first fifteen minutes of class saying, "For me, risky behavior meant things like climbing on the roof. When I was in first grade I broke my arm because ... In second grade..." No kidding, she chronicled her escapades growing up in a rural midwest town up till junior high.

Finally we got to the STDs. I guess she was provided with photographs that show exactly what things like crabs, chlamydia, herpes, etc. look like. She'd say, "Ok, this one's pretty graphic," and click the overhead computer screen window on and off as fast as she possibly could. It was like a peep show. You'd just figure out that the close up photo you were looking at was the tip of a penis, and click, it would be gone.

And yet, I noticed that because she was so uncomfortable with it, the students were far more interested. In the end, I stopped being angry and was just amused. Luckily, these kids get the same training every year from a different teacher, so hopefully they'll eventually get to know more than they're learning here.


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