I’d like to send a shout-out to Gail Ward. I first met Gail in January, 1997, when I started serving as principal of Macdonald Consolidated. Gail was the secretary for the Director of Education; consequently, many of my phone calls went either to or through her. I won’t take the time to list all of her positive attributes – they are many. Let me simply say that Gail is the ideal executive assistant. If I were starting a new company, any company, Gail would be one of the first I would call to say, “Please come work with me.” Thank you Gail for your service and dedication. You continue to make a difference.
For the 1996/97 school year, the Dept of Education introduced a new sex. ed. curriculum. Neither of the middle school teachers at Macdonald Consolidated were comfortable and/or willing to take the two day in-service. I figured, what the heck. If I taught this component of the health courses, it would at least get me into each of the grade 7-9 classes (the grade 9’s had yet to move up to the high school); besides, I would probably learn something new. I signed up.
I recall one of the first things the instructor told us. She explained that the grade 7 component dealt primarily with the male and female reproductive systems. The designers of the course suggested that teachers begin with the female system; however, as our instructor explained, “If you begin with the female system and its parts, the boys will giggle and start making silly comments shortly after you begin. I suggest you commence with the male reproductive system. If you start by slapping down the penis overhead, the boys won’t say a word.” She was right.
My own children will tell you that having your father also serve as your school principal brought a unique set of problems. Sometimes student anger that should have been directed toward me, was expressed to them. It occasionally served to put them in an uncomfortable situation; however, I am told that nothing was more uncomfortable than having your father also be your sex. ed. teacher. My daughter claims that, to this day, she remains traumatized from the experience. As testimony for her traumatic experience, she often refers to the following.
On one particular day, I entered her grade 7 classroom and was preparing to begin my lesson. The students were putting away their materials from the previous class and I proceeded to focus the overhead projector. The students sensed that I was about to begin and were starting to settle in. As I was leafing through my resources I said, apparently in a voice loud enough to be heard by all, “Hmmm. Now, where is my penis . . overhead.”. Please note, that I typed just 2 dots between the words penis and overhead. That’s my way of suggesting a 1 second pause. Now if my daughter were telling this story she would suggest it went like this: “Hmmm. Now where is my penis . . . . . . . . overhead.” I would suggest that she tends to exaggerate.
Anyway, I did get their attention.
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