Why this Sudbury teacher does not provide sex education to her students this year
Given that some people say that the distance learning model is difficult to protect the privacy of students, teaching sex education during the pandemic has caused some educators to get stuck in how to teach courses.
Although sex education is a compulsory part of the Ontario curriculum, a teacher in Sudbury said she will skip it this year because studying at home means she cannot guarantee that her students are studying in a private and safe learning space.
CBC agreed not to disclose the name of the teacher because she was worried that speaking out would cause her problems at work.
She said that the spring semester is usually when she introduces the 5th and 6th grade students to the sexual health unit, also known as the fully active unit or the human development unit. This allows them to get to know her and hope to get to a place where they feel comfortable and safe when dealing with sometimes awkward subjects.
It also gives them the opportunity to ask questions, including topics such as gender identity, emotional management and even masturbation.
Teaching sex education in front of parents is anxious.— Teacher Sudbury
But this year, she said, her students have been using home computers in the center of the living room or on the kitchen table to study—usually when the family can’t hear them. She said she did not want to risk putting her students or herself in a dangerous situation.
“You can bet they will call and complain”
“Teaching sex education in front of parents is anxious,” the teacher said. “This is such a private topic. Mathematics [is] 2+2 = 4, but when you talk about body parts, yes, you can bet they will call to complain.
“Before the pandemic started, I looked like I was sitting in a circular area in the classroom.
I want to say that among my colleagues, at least 50% or more than half of them will not teach sex education this year.— Anonymous Sudbury Teacher
“They will ask questions…I will have a question, and they can ask a question there. I will let everyone ask a question, whether they have a question or not, so you can’t figure out who asked it. The question and this is an open dialogue.”
After talking with her colleagues, the teacher said that she was not the only one who chose not to offer sex education courses this year.
“I want to say that among my colleagues, at least 50% or more than half of them will not teach sex education this year.”
CBC News contacted the Ministry of Education, and a spokesperson said that the school board is responsible for ensuring that sex education courses are provided in accordance with the province’s regulations.
“It actually makes teaching concepts easier”
Other teachers in the area have different views on the control of sex education by the pandemic in the past year.
Colleen McKinnon, a distance learning teacher on the Rainbow School Board, said the shift to online learning has improved her ability to talk about sex using games and new digital tools such as Bitmojis, which are essentially cartoons that children can use. Incarnation.
“It allows students to be anonymous. They can enter a nickname for themselves, and only the teacher can see who is saying what. This way they can participate in these games, have fun, earn points and the like, so it makes learning more interesting.
When you click on the head, heart, or anything else, it will explain concepts to them, such as the difference between gender identity and gender expression.— Colleen McKinnon, remote teacher of Rainbow District School Board
“Another benefit of online learning is that it allows us to use interactive tools. Before we might have posters or something, now we can actually have clickable things.”
McKinnon mentioned an interactive tool called The Everyone, which is particularly helpful in teaching students about human development.
“When you click on the head, heart, or anything else, it will explain concepts to them, such as the difference between gender identity and gender expression, which actually makes teaching concepts easier.”
McKinnon said that with such a great success in sex education this year, regardless of whether the Ontario Ministry of Education officially implements virtual learning, she plans to use many of the digital technologies and tools she adopted this year-even if the trend is over and students Back to the physical classroom.
McKinnon said that in her remote courses, she noticed that her students are more involved in the materials, and some even directly stated to her that in the remote format, they feel more comfortable with learning health and human development.
Help teachers provide sex education in COVID-19
Jessica Wood, a research expert with the Canadian Council on Sexual Information and Education (SIECANN), said that to ensure effective teaching of the topic during the pandemic, the first step is to ensure that educators feel supported.
“You know, this means supporting educators to learn how to teach sex education topics online and in the classroom,” Wood said.
“When we talk about certain subjects and the comfort of students, there are privacy issues, ensuring that there is enough material to be transferred from the classroom to the online environment. There are other issues to consider.”
If they don’t get it at home and don’t have anything at school, will they get into trouble?— Teacher Sudbury
However, despite the daunting and challenging sex education teaching this year, Wood said she predicts that the online space for the subject will grow.
Although she feels strongly about the decision not to teach sex education this year, the Sudbury teacher, who asked not to be named, said that she can’t help feeling that the distance learning model has failed in some ways.
“I know that when it comes to dealing with sex education, I may be the only reliable educational voice. I think children can talk to me, and I am grateful that they can talk to me… I make sure to make it an open environment .
“Some kids don’t understand at home. So if they don’t understand at home and there is nothing in school, will they get into trouble?”
When she asked her children whether they had taken a sex education course this year when they were attending an independent school in Sudbury, her two sons confirmed her suspicions: they did not.