Relevant materials aka: what is up with health curriculum?

Okay, so the reason why I’m still on about health class is because I tend to go through periods where I mostly work on one thing, then another. Health is always the thing I drop and grudgingly come back to. Why? Because all the free lesson-plans and curriculum (and even some premium ones) are freaking insulting. I know that health education is a really seriously important part of high school, and at the same time I’m just really frustrated with some of the topics.

  1. Drugs and Alcohol – I know this is an important topic, but how many people does this “don’t drink or do drugs, ever” thing actually dissuade? Zero? Yeah, I thought so. Most kids have had it pounded into their heads from kindergarten that alcohol is bad and that evil children will eventually try to peer pressure you into it and you have to say “no.” What they don’t teach you is that the kids who do those things aren’t going to be some weirdo malcontents who are actually complete losers whom nobody likes. Actually…they’re more like the same as you and me and everybody, and they’re everywhere, and once you reach about age 13-15 you find that there are kids who can’t have fun without all this stuff and that makes it impossible for them to have fun with YOU if you don’t do that stuff.
  2. Sex – What a freaking worthless waste of time. For one thing, most curriculum guides suggest this abstinence-only thing which…I don’t really care from a personal standpoint because I don’t really want to be doing things like that, but teenagers aren’t going to be teenagers forever and we need practical information we can actually use whenever it’s needed. Also, we need a LOT more advice about how to navigate consent, how to be sensitive to peoples’ sexual trauma triggers (a lot of teenagers are horrible at that – if you’ve been traumatized you pretty much can’t talk to anyone), and how to just overall be a decent human being. Oh and talking about the double-standards and pressure to be “manly” by “getting some” or to walk the line between being a “prude” and being a “slut” might be nice, although students don’t actually feel enough of a genuine connection to their teachers to listen anyway. We also need to be way more queer-inclusive.
  3. Mental health – Honestly, I can’t stand these units. They all have these horrible messages of “just go to psychiatry or therapy and presto, problem solved!” There’s no education about how some psychiatrists will load you up on medications your family can’t afford until you’re a teenage addict (essentially) and keep needing to go back for more. There’s no discussion of how therapy can be soft-core evangelism for a specific idea of what “normal” means, or how much therapists can literally manipulate you into thinking how they want you to rather than actually helping you address your problems. Personally I hate therapy and I am so sick of my psychiatrist. He reminds others of Rumplestiltskin from Once Upon a Time. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Nutrition – Full of outdated misinformation and very non-inclusive of veganism.
  5. STI/HIV/AIDS/etc – Useful info, but tends to have this fear-mongering “infected people are lepers who obviously did something super evil and couldn’t possibly have inherited it or gotten it by mistake” message behind it. I don’t have one, but I wonder what a kid who did would feel like listening to some of this b.s. or reading it.
  6. Exercise – Yeah not inclusive of a lot of disabilities/chronic pain/etc and kinda boring/stuff most people already know by the time they get to high school.

This is part of what confuses me greatly about public school is that I wasn’t exactly the most perfect student on the planet while there, but then when I look at what public schools are covering it’s like…wait…what? Really? REALLY.

For health, I’ve mostly been researching things that pertain to my own health instead of just stuff that is supposed to be important for teenagers. Here are some examples of things I’ve looked into for each of those categories:

  1. Drugs and Alcohol – I watched a movie about how those things were affecting a character’s life and wrote a reaction paper. I also did some modules on some .gov site.
  2. Sex – I already have the gist down pretty well, so I’ve mostly been researching feminist theories about consent/respect/mutuality/pressure on teens/purity balls/cultural implications/etc.
  3. Mental health – I like reading both the normal medical stuff and the critical anti-psychiatry stuff, then trying to form my own opinions.
  4. Nutrition – I get it from sources that are friendly to my diet.
  5. STI/HIV/AIDS/etc – I already learned about this last year, so I’m good.
  6. Exercise – I have a program for that.

So yeah -__-.

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