Sunday 6 November 2011

Sian's Storytelling Sunday: Lessons in ....Um Yeah

The topic for my Storytelling Sunday is perhaps a little unorthodox... but it's kept me vastly entertained this week. This half term, my form and I are discussing the big daddy of PSHE topics. Could they guess what it was?

Form: DRUGS!!!

Me: No, but I am worried by your enthusiastic yelling.

Form: *snigger*

Me: Exactly. Sex and relationships.

My form are mostly thirteen, there are 30 of them, and they are all boys. But y'know what, for my first attempt to teach sex ed, it's a nice group to be working with. They're giggly, absolutely, but still curious, and really quite naive. Older students tend to be harder work. Less naivete, more innuendo.

When it came to my form having some input, they clammed up somewhat.

Me: First of all, we're going to think about some of the things we might be discussing, and come up with a few ground rules for our discussions so that no one feels uncomfortable or embarrassed. So, what might we be talking about.

Long silence. Eye contact avoidance. One tentative hand is raised.

Student: area?

Me: A bit yes, but the biology and the anatomy is more something you'll be talking about in science. We're going to be thinking about the social and emotional sides of sex. How to make sure you're being safe and responsible. What to do if you have a problem, that sort of thing.

Student: Isn't there like an age.... in the law...before you, yeah?

Me: There is, yes. We'll certainly be talking about the law and your rights.

Student: Will we be talking service?


The ground rules we set later said that no one should laugh at anyone else's questions. Everyone will know different things and what to know different things and if they laugh at each other, they'll all be too embarrassed to ask anything about " yeah".

I didn't realise that the person who would find it hardest not to giggle would be me. Navigating the world of innuendo was extremely difficult. I had to hold on to my laughter with both hands and all my strength until I could get back to the office and collapse helplessly at my desk.

All the boys tried desperately to avoid saying 'sex' and their faces would contort marvellously mid sentence as they tried to come up with a politically correct way of saying what they wanted to say. I think it always made it worse. But they kept trying!


The school nurse came to do a session with us on contraception and STIs and the effects of alcohol and sex. She showed us a video where a rather drunk young girl is pressured into sleeping with her boyfriend. Every so often, the video would be put on pause.

Nurse: So, what are your thoughts about the behaviour of the boy here?

Student: I think the quality of the acting is poor. It's really overacted.

Me: *not laughing. Definitely not laughing*

Nurse: *taken aback* OK.... but we're really talking about the relationship between the characters.


Nurse: Everybody's different and different people use different forms of contraception, but whether it's the pill or the coil-

Student: What's the coil?

Nurse: *holds it up* This is the coil.

Student: How does it work?

Nurse: It's implanted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

Student: How does it get....up.... *resorts to hand gesture*

Me: *Still definitely not giggling. Or smirking*

Nurse: Oh, a doctor puts it in at the clinic. It comes in a little plastic case. The case gets removed and the coil stays behind, and then this string gets cut off.

Student: Hm....doesn't it hurt?

Nurse: No, no, you can't feel it. And once it's in it can stay there for ten years.

Student: How do they get it out again.

Nurse: Again, a doctor will do it, and get it out using some forceps.

Student: *turns pale*

Nurse: I won't deny that it's uncomfortable, but some people can't use the pill, so it's a good alternative for them. Better than an unwanted pregnancy.

Student: *blanches*

The nurse moved on and I edged around the room to my worried looking student.

Me: Pssst!

Student: Yes miss?

Me: You don't need to look so worried.

Student: Yes miss.

Me: The coil is for women.

Student: Ohhhhhh.....

Relief really brightened him up.

The nurse got out her model penis and showed them all how to put on a condom properly.

Nurse: If you come to the sexual health clinic, we will give you free condoms, but you'll have to demonstrate to us that you know how to put one on properly. We keep a record of your visits, and then if you've been to see us 6 times, we ask you to give us another demonstration to make sure your still using them properly. If you don't use a condom properly, you can still potentially pass on lots of STIs, or get your partner pregnant.

Student: You mean you have to show, like, a nurse or someone?

Nurse: Yes. Just to be on the safe side.

Student: But will

Nurse: Well, yes. So that we know you're doing it properly.

Student: ....But......

Nurse: Not on you! On the model.

Student: Oh.......


Here ends the lesson for the week. Who knows what next week's lessons will bring :D Wish me luck! With keeping a straight face, if nothing else.

Kisses xxx

P.S. For a whole range of wonderful stories, check out Sian's blog From High in the Sky where loads of bloggers will be sharing as part of Storytelling Sunday.


  1. This made me laugh - how you keep a straight face I don't know. Being a teacher goes way beyond simply teaching.

  2. This really did make me laugh out loud! Wonderful story!

  3. Good work not giggling! Speaking as the science teacher that gets to teach them all the anatomical bits, though, girls are worse for sex-ed than the boys- if you keep it all very matter of fact, the boys feel relatively relaxed- girls alternate between clamming up and making snide comments to get a laugh. Showing them the 'giving birth' video usually stops the snide comments- encourages the clamming up though. :)

  4. OMG this has brightened my coldfilled life. I can just imagine the boys faces at the coil and YES it does hurt going in thanx!!!!!! That school nurse sounds like she needs some tips on presentation skills. Fab story Kirsty, more please.
    Jo xxx

  5. What a great story. I like how you told it too. I have a 13 year old son myself so it certainly hit home. Thanks for the laugh!

  6. You deserve a medal for not laughing and keeping the giggles under control. Poor boy thinking about the coil, just as well you realised what was running through his mind. Good luck for your next lesson.

  7. Love your story you managed not to laugh I don't know...glad you were able to put the lad's mind at rest about the coil..too funny!!
    Alison xx

  8. Haha - brilliant tales - you must have the constitution of Jack Dee to have kept a straight face throughout. I actually laughed out loud when you reassured the lad about the coil!!!

  9. this did make me laugh, they sound like a great class!

  10. What a great read!!!! As the mother of a 13 yr. old boy, I loved reading about your class!!!! :D This one definitely put a huge smile on my face.... and I wonder if my boy knows where a coil goes!!!!!ha!

  11. ha ha ha! I laughed a lot while reading this! I love some of the things children come out with! xxx

  12. I too am the worst at not giggling when doing sex education with the kids I teach. I remember having to teach a group of very repressed Muslim girls about checking for breast cancer with a prosetic breast - needless to say no-one wanted to demonstrate!!

  13. This is hilarious :) I have a 13 year old daughter so I can relate :)

  14. Oh Kirsty - you had me laughing out loud and I still have a smile on my face xx

  15. Hilarious! When I was a teenager there was one girl in our class who would intentionally ask very embarrassing questions to the teacher just to see him turn beet red with embarrassment. Poor Mr. Cady! I don't think he should have been teaching that class. Thanks for the laugh this morning and the memories it brought back. :-)

  16. Kirsty, you are one seriously talented teacher along with being a gifted storyteller! I can tell, and I suspect there will be plenty of kids in years to come who will have cause to be grateful for your cool approach to these lessons. me? I'm just glad you know how to make me laugh! Cracking stuff!

  17. This definitely brought back memories of my own experiences of sex ed! Your students sound like they got the long straw though, all being in the same boat, our form on that particular day was made up of a group of giggling girls and ONE poor embarrassed boy. I also think our teacher was more embarrassed than he was. Great story and well written :)

  18. Brilliantly told. Made my day

  19. Goodness, Kirsty! However you managed to not laugh.... I have been splitting my sides! I repeated some of it to DH, who was also chuckling...
    My DS is in the same year-group... I suppose they will have this in their PSHE lessons too.
    At least now, I have some idea what will be discussed....
    Excuse me, I need to find a tissue, to wipe my streaming eyes...

    Great story - so funny!

  20. Good luck for the rest of term with this class! Oh funny, funny, funny ... heheheee, makes me cringe a little when I think back to my classes at that age, and how much the teachers were laughing at us!

  21. I totally would have bust a gut right in front of all those poor boys. I know there was a reason I never became a teacher. Kudos to you and well told!

  22. Brilliant! I'll never know how you kept a straight face - mine wasn't on reading it!

  23. Great post, I work in a sexual health clinic and everyday people come out with the funniest things and they don't all have the excuse of being a teenager either!! I think a sense of humour definitely helps! Well done to you!

  24. This absolutely made my day. "The coil is for women"!! Priceless.

  25. Lovely story and yep the coil is definitely for women :phew: :giggle:

  26. I don't know how sex- ed is taught here in the US but I think this post should be required reading for every parent, teacher, administrator, gives a great picture of what young people don't know and ways to clear up their confusion and ignorance...and the telling is truly too funny! Kudos for a great post!