This is probably not what you think it is. While I’m sure some people would love a run down of 9th grade sex ed, my class didn’t learn anything we were supposed to, so I can’t do that (even if I wanted to). Instead, I’m sharing important life tips that my heath teacher (may or may not have inadvertently) shared.
Lead by example
My dear friend Lenny, my health teacher, is a huge believer of leading by example. He constantly shared his lifestyle with us. He would tell us about his healthy meals and workouts. He constantly told us about the healthy decisions he made for himself and his children. While it did get a tad annoying, his lifestyle gently impacted those in his class.
Looks can be deceiving
Lenny is a buff guy, like one of the scary ones you see at the gym. He wears clothing that will show off his muscles (that some may deem inappropriate for teaching.) Before I entered his class, I was terrified of him, along with my classmates. However, he slowly started to show his true self. It was a little off setting to see this huge man wearing tiny glasses and telling us jokes. Another thing that totally came out of left field, was his love for the musical Hamilton.
Give in to get more
Sometimes you need to give in a little to get better relationships. I’m not saying change your personality, but the way Lenny did this was very clever. As students, we often speak ill of our teachers. Even if we think they don’t know, they know. Lenny here, used this to his advantage. He would tell stale jokes, or pretend like he didn’t know something so we could take a hit at him. (At least I think this is what he’s doing, he could just have a bad sense of humor.) This big scary guy allowed a bunch of teenagers to snicker behind his back so they would no longer fear him.
Hard work pays off
Good old Lenny. As much as I (seemingly) poke fun, I have to admit, Lenny works hard. That guy is always working out. He made it a point to explain how long he’s been training and how much work he’s put into weightlifting.
Drugs are bad
I know it’s kind of his job as a teacher and health teacher to preach about the dangers of drugs, but he really brought the point home. Every single class, he shared a different newspaper clipping with us. On these clippings are tragic about the death of suburban kids, like us, dying from drug use. While they’re incredibly tragic, they are also effective in scaring kids away from drugs.
Technology is addictive
One of the first things Lenny put on his list of class rules was that technology was banned. Phones were not to be seen the entire two hour class period, if they were there would be “severe consequences.” (Lenny then proceeded to pull out his flip phone and lecture us about how his phone was better, but that’s not the point.) His rules made me realize how much I relied on my phone. During the short break in the middle of class, I couldn’t pull out my phone to avoid social interaction. I was forced to talk to people or sit awkwardly. Additionally, I would feel the need, or almost craving, to look at my phone without fulfillment, proving that in some way, I am addicted to my phone.
Set goals for yourself
We had daily prompts and one of them was to list out short-term and long-term goals. I wish I took a picture of my long term goal so I could reference it. Writing out my goals got me super motivated and now I set monthly goals for myself. (You can find my goals for April here.)
It’s easy to make little changes
There would be three main quotes from every class, they were basically always the same. One of them was, “I see kids getting French fries and cookies at lunch everyday. Imagine if those kids replaced them with a fruit or vegetable once or twice a week.” While I’m not really sure if this checks out, he does have a point. Little changes add up and can have a big impact.
My favorite (and probably the most useful) part of my 9th grade sex education class was researching colleges. One of the projects we had was to find five colleges that interest you and get a bunch of information on them. I was never one to have a dream college, or even think about college, but Lenny taught me that it will come sooner than I think. I truly believe that that project could change someone’s future.
As I read back this post, it comes off as if I’m making fun of my teacher. That is certainly not the intent. I was reflecting on the class and realized how much I learned, even if it wasn’t part of the curriculum. So, I hope the knowledge I gathered from Lenny can help you.