Spring Fever

23 March 2005

Spring Break is still over a week away for our district. Kids and staff alike are starting to get a bit cranky. It really feels like a long time since Christmas. We need an energy boost.

Yesterday, a sophomore in the neighbouring classroom got bent out of shape because his biology teacher used the words "penis" and "vagina." Mind you, my colleague didn't just blurt the words out because he felt like it. The terms were related to the discussion at hand. Students had told the teacher that intercourse was necessary for sexual reproduction. The teacher asked them if trees had penises and vaginas. Anyway, the kid wasn't offended by the words. His problem was, "Why do teachers get to say whatever they want and kids don't?" He was sure that if he said "penis" at school he'd be suspended. And he might, depending on how and when he used the term.

Kids this age can still be pretty black-and-white about things. If "penis" is okay to say in one context at school---why not every context? It's still the same word.

And then, there were my sophs yesterday. We talked about hormones related to the ovarian and menstrual cycles. I asked them to design a birth control pill. They asked me all kinds of questions about menopause (I'm guessing there's a lotta moms out there who are cranky, too.) and PMS. And no one batted an eye.

So, what's the difference? Is it because my "honors" students have a better developed pre-frontal lobe ? Is it due to talking about sex in biology all year long? Was the kid yesterday more in need of a vacation than the rest of us?

It's always interesting to come back from break. Kids have acquired tans and shorter hair cuts. The girls have brought out all their skimpy clothes and the sap will really start to run. I wonder what yesterday's upset boy will be thinking about sex then?

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