Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Puberty Resources, Part Two: "Being Girl"

Being a twenty-five year old male teacher who has to teach twelve year old girls about the menstrual cycle can be pretty awkward. It's not that awkward for me, but it definitely is for the kids. Let's face it, puberty is not the topic most sixth graders want to learn about.

But sometimes, students break through the awkwardness and actually approach me to discuss something related to puberty. Before we get into that, some background:

The way our curriculum works, I teach both boys and girls about puberty in a co-ed sixth grade classroom. Sometimes there is an aide (typically female) in the room with me if assigned to a student. That can make things more awkward...and then there was that time I accidentally left a copy of the male reproductive system diagram in the teacher's room during a lunch THAT was awkward for my colleagues; I thought it was kind of funny.

Being Girl website
The other health teacher I work with is male, and there are times when I really feel for the girls. It's awkward enough to learn about puberty (despite creating what I think is a comfortable learning environment), but I am sure that to be an adolescent girl learning from a male teacher can be pretty embarrassing. Right now, I'm lucky to have a female student teacher, and we added a class to the unit where she took the girls to another classroom to have some discussions specific to being a teenage girl during puberty; this was in addition to the co-ed lessons I normally teach.

So, back to my story. After one class on puberty, one of my sixth grade girls came up to me quietly. She was pretty confident and nonchalantly started talking to me.  "Mr. Bartlett," she began, "Have you ever heard of 'Being Girl?' You should check out their website." She then turned on her heels and scurried out of the classroom, probably wanting to avoid any more puberty discussion with her male health teacher. I had a prep the next period, and typed "Being Girl" into Google.

I felt like I hit a gold mine.

Being Girl is a great resource for teenage girls about all the changes going on in their bodies during puberty, in addition to many other topics. It's flashy, it has "cute" colors typically enjoyed by adolescent girls, and it's interactive. It's an even better source for male health teachers to find information that speaks "teenage girl." I'm a big believer that if I cannot answer a question (either because I don't know the answer or, more often, because district policies say I can't) that I provide students with appropriate resources where they can get an accurate answer. Being Girl is one such place. They have a YouTube channel as well. I've looked at two or three videos on their channel and I do have to admit, they're well done (despite the marketing slant towards Always products).

Definitely check out Being Girl and pass it along!

Note that the website is run by The Procter & Gamble Company, makers of the Always brand of feminine hygiene products. So, there's some advertising and I wouldn't be surprised if readers could tell some of the content is written with a bias. Pick your battles.

NOTE: I am not affiliated with Proctor & Gamble or any of their products. These words are my own and not endorsed by them.

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