Everyone loves to hear good news, right? That’s why I’ve been interviewing people for the Educator Spotlight. Watch for the next posts in this series that shines the spotlight on puberty educators who are doing wonderful things to support young people and their families as they navigate puberty.
As I talked to puberty educators, I was reminded that they are doing great work as they teach puberty education in a variety of settings. Some teach puberty education in schools; some teach in a community setting; others advocate for better sex education on the national stage; others advocate during interpersonal conversations and at school board meetings. I’ve also talked with educators who specialize in working with people in churches, medical facilities, parks, sandwich shops, and any other setting where people want to learn more about sex education.
Puberty educators teach a variety of audiences. Many are teachers in public schools who teach students directly. They often teach a specific grade or a range of grades, such as middle school or high school students. Other puberty educators are consultants who are asked to come into classrooms to teach sex education topics that are age-appropriate for the grade level of the students.
Some puberty educators work with parents and caregivers, equipping them to have those all-important conversations with their children at home. One of my favorite models is working with parents/caregivers and their child in a combined workshop.
Other educators influence adult decision-makers about the importance of sex education by taking on an advocacy role. Some educators are advocates at the national level, informing legislators about the impact of the laws and budgets they pass. National advocates also equip others to be effective advocates in their local communities. Local advocates work with an audience that often includes local stakeholders such as school board members, county commissioners, parents, and other policy makers.
In the advocacy role, educators teach people what sex education is and inform them about the need for being inclusive of all community members when planning programs, approving budgets, and adopting laws and policies.
Educators who teach and advocate for sex education are doing so under challenging conditions. Some of those conditions are related to the developmental stage of their students; others are related to the setting they work in. Many challenges are the outcome of the culture wars that wax and wane over the years. The puberty educators I interviewed do this work because it is a passion for them. They are committed to supporting people in developing healthy selves, healthy relationships, and promising futures.
The Educator Spotlight will feature amazing people who are doing so much great work teaching and advocating for puberty education. Watch for more as I complete additional interviews. Hopefully, you will be as inspired and encouraged by their stories as I was.