So with a week to go until I give birth, this week I got myself into a bit of of a situation from a somewhat sarcastic tweet I wrote on twitter about being a “role model” for the “importance of marriage for family life” (referring to the DfE Sex & Relationship Education 2000 guidance which until it is finally updated is still what we have for schools as “guidance” (albeit totally out of date and useless guidance!). This has given rise to me needing to write two blog posts on this! This one about “A sex educators role as a “role model” and another about “A sex educators role in reducing unplanned pregnancy”
Anyhow my tweet was sarcastic as the phrase “importance of marriage for family life” has always rankled with me in the 2000 Sex Education Guidance (for a start it shouldn’t it be Marriage, Civil Partnerships and stable relationships maybe!?)- and Education for Choice have written the perfect blog post about Teaching about Marriage which I agree with totally so don’t need to replicate my rant here. So I was being sarcastic as technically I am a “good role model” for the DfE’s 2000 guidance utopian vision (and Gove’s current Free School and Academy Vision) of everyone being happily married and planning their families, even if this isn’t how life works out for everyone and the notion “superiority” of this position is flawed and not one I am comfortable with.
Unfortunately a particularly vitrolic tweeter decided to make baseless assumptions about my marital status and whether my pregnancy was planned or not and therefore my abilities as a sex educator!? (as apparently an unmarried woman with an unplanned pregnancy could not possibly be a good role model or a good sex educator!? Say what!?). Humph. I don’t feel that anyone’s personal circumstances have any bearing on their abilities as educators other than to maybe contribute life experiences (and I tried to unpick this more in a previous blogpost on being a “pregnant sex educator”! ) but as always this goes back to the SRE golden rule of not answering personal questions but using general situations as examples- this keeps everything safer for the educator and the learner. So yes my personal circumstances and experiences may contribute in some way to my abilities as a sex educator but they are NOT relevant or necessary to my role as a sex educator because my role is to support young people to explore options open to them and help them developing the knowledge, understanding and skills to make the best choices for them. It is not about getting my students to “do as I do” or “don’t do as I did” as for a start that isn’t effective teaching and learning!
Technically the one role sex educators should have in the classroom is NOT to be a role model- that’s not what effective sex and relationships education is at all.