Anyone who has ever taught a sex education class knows that students come to class with a multitude of questions. When a trusted adult creates a safe space for young people they may ask questions that can be challenging to answer. Questions like, “What’s a wet dream?” or “Is sex better with a bigger penis?” or “Do you think sex is bad or good?”
Answering anonymous student questions is almost always part of evidence-based curriculums. And it’s also the part of the curriculum that’s the least scripted, where teachers don’t always know what to expect or how to respond to different kinds of questions.
As the primary resource for sexuality educators in Maine, the FPA is always seeking new ways to support those who have the responsibility for teaching sex ed to our young people. To that end, our Pregnancy Prevention Program staff is creating a series of short video clips around the theme of “Answering Students’ Questions.”
“In our experience, how to answer student questions is something teachers want help with. We figure experienced teachers are the best resource for how to answer certain questions,” says Program Director Lynette Johnson. “Since there are different ways to respond to each question, we want to hear how different teachers answer so that their peers can form their own responses. And the use of video and online technology seemed like a great way to do that.”
On Monday, November 7th the FPA will give sex ed teachers a chance to answer student questions on camera as part of Answering Students’ Questions About Sex and Sexuality: A Video Project of the FPA’s Pregnancy Prevention Program.
On that day, yours truly will be at the annual conference of the Maine Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (MAHPERD) to videotape conference participants who want to try their hand at answering students’ questions about sexuality. The short video clips are part of an ongoing project and will eventually be available on the FPA website and through our social media sites for teachers to refer to as they wish.
If you are an educator attending the MAHPERD Conference next week, please take a few minutes on Monday to stop by and answer a question on camera. We’ll have sample questions for you to choose from but feel free to bring your own. We’ll also give you hints for being on camera to help you feel comfortable about being videotaped. If you don’t feel ready to answer questions on camera, stop by anyway. Take a few moments to say ‘hi’ and tell us about the most common questions you get from your students.
After the MAHPERD Conference we plan to find other venues for expanding this project in order to include as many teachers throughout Maine as possible.
While this project is designed as a resource for sex ed teachers, we hope it will also be helpful to parents and other adults who find themselves trying to answer the questions young people ask about sex and sexuality.
What is the most difficult question you’ve ever had to answer?