Why I Teach Sex Ed: Knowledge is Power

I am a firm believer the knowledge is power.
Rachael Carlevale
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains
I am a firm believer that knowledge is power. Teaching comprehensive, medically accurate, age appropriate sex education: healthy relationships, contraception, pregnancy options- that knowledge is LIFE SAVING power.  I feel as a sex education instructor, I am enabling students to make healthy informed decisions. Diving into the sexual past, a lot of this knowledge has been prohibited, taken on a political rollercoaster, grown and cultivated by motivated leaders such as Margaret Sanger and Malcolm X, and for that I am honored to be one of many whom bearthe fruits of knowledge of this sexual revolution.
As an educator, I travel a lot. Traveling allows me to reach remote areas with no resources and little education on health and sexuality. On one particular two hour mission to a remote high school with a very high teen pregnancy rate, my experiences with the students solidified why I am a sex education teacher and proud of it. That day I taught the basics- abstinence, what a healthy relationship should look like, how to obtain, use and talk to your partner about contraception and the realities of STDs. After the class a young female student came up to me and shook my hand. She thanked me and told me how nobody had ever taught her “that stuff” and that she thought she was pregnant.  Feelings of compassion and hope arose inside of me after she disclosed this information and I then provided her with the necessary resources for her inquiry.
The classes were separated by gender and after instructing the male group, a young man approached me and also shook my hand. “My dad always told me to pull out and hope for the best… I never knew there were so many birth control methods. I’m going to talk to my girlfriend about them. I think she might be pregnant.”
I remember in my high school, we did not receive any sex education at all. I was schooled by an upperclassman who took me to a nearby health center to learn of all my options. She was one of those exceptionally sweet girls who was nice to everybody, including me. High school always fosters difficult challenges no matter where you grow up and at my high school; it quickly became the ‘norm’ to be self conscious about your body, especially for developing females. Soon eating disorders were on the rise.  A good friend of mine was deeply affected and I felt an obligation to put a stop to all the negative body image nonsense. I started a group called “Peer-Health” for students to meet at lunch once a week and talk about teen issues, feeling good about the bodies we’re born in and how to stay healthy with a well-balanced nutritious diet. The group cultivated a sense of connection among people within the school and branched out to reach a variety of teen (and adult) issues such as how to cope with stress and another student even started a tutoring program for upperclassmen to instruct underclassmen.
The synchronicity of events in my high school led me to solidify my commitment to better the human condition. focused my studies on ecologically conscious approaches to human health and voluntarily instructed weekly yoga classes for my college peers. I now find myself sitting in an office prepping for the next sex education class, this time for middle school. By providing these students with the knowledge they need- personally empower individuals with life saving information– I know that the facts I provide will bring a human awareness that students will be able to radiate unto others and spread this conscious revolution.