Because this seems like such a success story, the objective of this lesson is one of values clarification.
: What would you have done differently if you were Maria?
: Have the students role-play the following two situations in Maria’s life.
Situation 1: A typical night in Maria’s life after she has gone back to school—the dishes are not done, baths have to be given to the children, and there is laundry to be done. Maria’s husband is doing overtime and cannot help. The children are fighting. Somehow, amongst all this commotion, Maria must find quiet and time to herself to do her homework.
Situation 2: It is Sunday—a perfect Spring day. The whole family is home. Everyone wants to go on a picnic but Maria has to study for an exam.
This role-playing can be done “straight” or with boys playing girls’ parts and vice versa.
Fetal growth and development, and the important role played by pre-natal nutrition.
The teacher must do some reading. The detailed reading list at the conclusion of the unit will be helpful in providing material.
The most important point to be made is that whatever a pregnant woman ingests can be beneficial or harmful to the fetus. There are excellent pictures of the fetus available at different stages of its development. These pictures can be passed around or duplicated. There are also slides available. Again, refer to our list of resource material.
Labor and delivery.
This presentation may take the form of a film. It is most important that time be allowed for discussion after the film. Please see our list of references.
Male and female hygiene.
This class may be taught with or by the school nurse, if the nurse is willing and the teacher is uncomfortable with this topic.
: This class is an excellent opportunity to try to dispel the myth that penis size is correlated with potency and/or the woman’s enjoyment.
Circumcision should be discussed, offering both sides of this issue. It might be helpful to give a brief history of the practice to bring out its cultural aspects.
The care and hygiene of the male genitals should be reviewed. Smegma build-up should be explained and its causes given. This is particularly important as most Puerto Rican boys are not circumcised.
Bathing, skin and hair care, use of deodorants; all these should be part of the class.
: Topics for this class are plentiful.
Douching: Even though douching is not a common practice among Hispanic women, we feel that with the strong pressure of advertising and their desire to become americanized, some women may be beginning to douche or to think of initiating the practice. Many adolescent females find their developing bodies “unclean.” The odor of the menstrual flow convinces many that douching is necessary to their hygiene, yet many will not bathe or wash their hair during this period, some won’t even put their hands in water, convinced that they would develop severe they did.
Tampons: Usually tampons are a no-no for the Hispanic girl because of the importance of her virginity. However, some girls might be using them and the latest research should be reviewed in class.
The dangers of feminine hygiene sprays, all-nylon hose and panties, strong and frequent bubble baths should all be discussed.
Contraception for both sexes should also be part of this lesson. The uses, misuses and myths surrounding birth control, the side effects of all methods should be honestly examined.