A Talk At SMK St. Mary
9 July 2015
On the 23rd of June, 2015, I followed June for her talk in SMK St. Mary on STIs. We were greeted by a gush of warmth and friendliness by the teachers and the form 4 students in SMK St Mary. Their eyes gleamed with enthusiasm and curiosity as it was their first comprehensive sex education talk.
I was in a very neutral position that day as I was neither the educator nor the student, which was a whole new perspective for me. Being a fresh high school graduate, I’ve never had the opportunity to pay attention to the non-verbal communication between the educator and the students, but this time, as the observer of the talk, I could see it without having either side of the bias (of the educator nor the student).
You could see the ladies in SMK St. Mary were really enjoying this hour-long talk. June constantly checked on them and drew a clear line between what they know and what they don’t, keeping everyone on the same page, and they were all in smiles throughout.
The students told us that most of them haven’t even seen a condom ever in their lives. So, June decided to bring in 200 condoms for each of the students to touch and hold. The responses from the students were surprisingly open and they were willing to touch the condoms and were keen to know how to use them in the correct way. I believe this was very educational for the students. It even got students asking questions about condoms openly like “What is the sticky stuff on the condom?”, or “Why are there flavoured condoms in the market?”
At the very end of the talk, June collected all the questions from the Anonymous Question Box that students had submitted during the talk. She read them aloud and answered them in front of everyone, so that everyone could learn from the questions. I think this really allowed students to know that it is okay to ask questions and be curious about their bodies and encouraged them to seek for help and guidance in a safe way like this. This talk was the safe space for them to talk about a topic no one really touches due to the social stigmas.
I had a great experience with the girls in SMK St Mary overall, a student even came up to us privately after the talk to thank us! I hope we can organize more events like this with the SMK St Mary students again.
Written by : The Intern