This past week was an interesting one! I spent my days teaching Wellness 10 to 12 grade ten girls. The first day I was so nervous, I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought since I was introducing a unit on relationships, that it would be a good idea to have a lot of discussion about healthy versus unhealthy relationships, and how conflict affects our relationships. Little did I know, this was not a chatty class and they are not fans of discussion. I have to admit, my first lesson was quite awkward; there was a couple of minutes where I could definitely hear crickets!
I had quite a few moments of frustration throughout the class. It seemed that the students part of sports teams or performing arts groups had troubles talking about relationships. As someone who had always been part of a sports team, I thought talking about conflicts with teammates or coaches, or opponents would be easy to talk about. However, these girls were just not into discussing these issues.
Tuesday got a little better: they were more talkative. We broke into groups and discussed the different types of violence/abuse, and roles people can potentially play in violent situations. We then discussed the Penn State sexual assault case. Half the class formed a group and read the article out loud, while the other half worked on the article and questions individually. I told them it was fine by me if they wanted to work with a partner, as long as the work was getting done. Again, the room was so quiet. I know that most of the girls have a friend or two in the class, so I was really surprised when even they weren’t chatting. I guess, I’m just not used to that quiet of a classroom, and I remember I always learned best when I could at least chat with someone else. So, for me, I was caught off guard at how silent these girls were.
Wednesday was a bit of a heavy lesson. We watched a video called, “Telling Amy’s Story“. This video is a documentary about domestic violence. We watched the video, and then discussed certain aspects of the video. There was one girl who showed up today that I haven’t ever seen before, and she was by far the most engaged student today. That really surprised me, but all I kept thinking was “holy crap, is that going on in her life right now” I guess I kind of put myself in that situation when I chose this unit to teach.
We continued the week talking about violence and abuse through media and sports, and how these aspects can affect our perception of healthy relationships. We then watched a video of a female soccer player who was suspended indefinitely for player misconduct. The girls were appalled at how this girl was acting throughout the game. We then ended the week with talking about bullying. We talked about Mean Girls and how there are numerous types of bullying in that movie. We discussed what the main character did, versus how the main character should have done.