Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Teaching Sexuality Isn't That Scary!

This year was the first year I have taught sexuality education. I was super nervous, but also really excited for this unit. I created the unit overview for 10Health, utilising lots of Family Planning resources throughout my lessons, and suggestions from educators on Twitter. I will share my unit outline once it makes sense to others, as I'm busy with my dissertation currently.

I went in with no idea what to expect. No clue how the students would respond and engage with the learning, and no clue how I would feel. As sexuality education is an area I am interested in, and passionate about, I knew I would be comfortable, but I think I was more relaxed than I anticipated to be! I was blown away how respectful my classes were overall. There was some giggling and discomfort throughout, but holistically, the students were pretty mature and interested. 

At the end of the sexuality unit I asked all students to complete this Google Form, asking a variety of questions about the topics the students learnt about across the 10 periods. This summative assessment showed the clear strengths and gaps in student knowledge, as below;

  • Some students still had some confusion between conception and contraception, but had understanding of their options and provided examples of contraception. Greater emphasis on the difference is required next year.
  • Lots of understanding across the board about safe relationships and consent, which was the major aim of the unit. 70/78 students were able to identify the legal age of consent, and 72/78 students were able to explain why intoxicated sex is non consensual. Some words used to describe unsafe relationships included manipulation, abusive, controlling, dishonest, possessive and aggressive.
  • 68/78 students were able to describe changes to the body for males AND females during puberty, some students uncertain about the changes for the opposite sex. I was pleased by this, as many students were uncertain of changes at the beginning of the unit.
  • Students were introduced to the sexuality and gender spectrums, to start discussions and awareness of the variety of sexualities and genders in society. Students needed another period or two around the spectrums, as there was a lot of confusion in the Google Form answers. This is likely due to a lack of time spent on this area, as we were pressed for time. About half of the students started to explain the differences between the two and were able to identify what LGBTQI stands for, and 38/78 were able to explain what heterosexual means.
  • The result I was most proud of when reading students' answers, was that only 2/78 students were unable to identify where/who they can go to for help, or any questions they may have about relationships, sex, sexuality and gender. Student knowledge of places they can go for help, was imperative for the learning throughout the unit.
Overall, I am really pleased how the unit went considering it was the first time in the school and the first time I had taught it. I really enjoyed connecting with the Nurse, agencies, other educators and stepping out of my comfort zone. The above points, and the student feedback alongside give me lots to work with moving into 2018

The greatest success story, was the Y10 dean saying this year the Health Centre had the greatest influx of students asking for help, support or general questions related to relationships, sex and sexuality than any year previously. This is a highlight, and great feedback for me, as this shows some of the learning within Health is encouraging students to reflect on their lives and Hāuora. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Banter, Bonding & Basketball

One of my 2017 goals was to increase my involvement in extra-curricular activities. I completely threw myself in the deep end and decided to coach a Junior basketball team! Growing up I loved to play basketball socially, but was never involved in a competitive team and certainly had no coaching experience! So the season was a massive learning curve for me, but so much fun.

Our 7:15am Friday morning trainings were tough for some of the boys, but we always had a great time, and loved our Tuesday afternoon games. I loved strengthening relationships with students I already knew, and creating relationships with other students in the school. Unfortunately our success rate wasn't high, but the kids always left with high spirits. Our van rides back to school after our games, were always the highlight of my week as we left with our heads high and jammed to music! They even attempted to have rap battles, which were entertaining. 

Going through the season, I was grateful to have considerable support from our Sports Coordinator. He coached the other Junior boys team (see both teams and Sports Coordinator above), so always helped me out with ideas, gave me encouragement and regularly led the trainings with me supporting him. I felt I took away a few ideas, but still have a considerable way to go, to be an effective coach! I look forward to PD opportunities in the future to support this growth. 

To celebrate the end of season, I was invited to the school's Sports Prizegiving Dinner. We spent the evening celebrating the success of all of our students involved in Sport at Tamaki College. See alongside the recipients of Most Valuable Player, Player of the Year and Most Improved Player for my team. This was a great experience, and I loved seeing the students walk across the stage to receive their awards. For some of our students and their families, this was a huge success, which I felt blessed to be a part of. 

Overall, I am so grateful to be involved in this team because I throughly enjoyed myself, and more importantly, I think the kids did too!

Monday, 23 October 2017

A Snowy Experience

This week we took our 11PE classes to Snowplanet, an indoor snow centre. The kids chose whether they would like to ski or board, had a lesson and then were given free time. I had so much fun being with the students in a new environment for them, and watching them learn.

For many of our students, this day was about an opportunity, an experience. Majority of the kids had never seen snow before, so had never been in a cold environment or had a snow fight. They were certainly shocked walking into -6 degrees! Last year we took our Year 12 class mountain biking and on the high ropes course. I left that day, and our Snowplanet day thinking how happy the students were after these first time experiences. They were so well behaved, incredibly respectful and so grateful for the day out. This means so much more than learning the skill itself.

A bunch of the kids enjoyed the day so much, they want to continue to ski/board. I would love to support the growth of an alpine group at TC, hopefully to take the students down to the mountain at some point - imagine the experiences the kids would have there?! I hate the stereotypes associated with low decile schools and low socio-economic communities, because anything is possible if you really want it... 

I created this short clip of our day out, and really hope to be involved in more awesome experiences in the future. Really looking forward to helping out with the Waka Ama day in a few weeks!