Today my eighth grade boys were called to the library to get “THE Sexually Transmitted Disease Talk.” When they walked out of class they were full of swag, and too cool for school. I could hear them bragging that they didn’t need this talk because they already knew all of this stuff!
They were gone for about 40 minutes and then the girls were called to go hear the same talk. When the boys returned, without exception every one of them looked like this:
Once I got them seated and calmed down they immediately began peppering me with questions that they were too afraid to ask of the school nurse. I truthfully answered questions regarding transmission of STDs and the various protection products available. In addition I answered questions about the way STDs can be transmitted as well as the prognosis and treatment of STDs. I was secretly laughing on the inside about the stark difference of the boys that left my class before the “talk” and the ones that returned afterwards. I was also thankful that they were comfortable enough and trusted me enough to boldly throw their questions at me. I am thankful that they feel safe enough with me to do so and trust that I will answer them truthfully. So today I am reminded that relationships really do matter with students, and if you build a safe community where everyone respects one another, that you can reach and teach students far beyond the academic requirements of state standards. Forgive me if I giggle here and there about how quickly they lost their swagger. Ahhh, the confidence and innocence of youth is wonderful!