By: Ella Petersen
It is no secret that we do a lot of things differently here at SLA. That’s why it is interesting to take a look at how health classes are taught at the school. Health and physical education teacher, Pia Martin, has been teaching for 27 years. She believes health is a subject that should be required at all high schools across the nation.
“I teach health because we don’t want children having all the diseases that could have been easily avoided if they had been taught about them. And when their friends get the diseases they learn that they can still be their friend,” she laughed.
Ms. Martin is a firm believer that sexual education should be normalized. The things she teaches about are things that can happen to any of us at some point in our lives. Letting children know these things are normal creates a safe space. “Just normalize it all. It’s all natural and it all happens in kids’ lives. I am here to just be a resource for them.”
Ms. Martin’s favorite thing about being able to teach is the fact that her students make her laugh all the time. She never has a dull day with the kids at SLA.
“Ms. Martin is my favorite teacher. I really appreciate the way she teaches. She doesn’t beat around the bush with us. In health, we are learning serious topics and she takes them seriously. She’s straightforward with us, she doesn’t treat us like we are in middle school,” sophomore Raymond Lucci explained.
Even though Ms. Martin has a great relationship with her students, she has run into issues before where a parent or student does not think they should be learning about the topics taught in her sexual education class. In those cases, Ms. Martin still respects their decision and works with them accordingly.
“Of course there have been cases where I need to see the perspective of people who have different beliefs than I do. But in the end it is about teaching children all that they need to know before they get themselves into trouble.”
Although Ms. Martin has been teaching for almost 30 years, she admits that she hasn’t perfected everything yet. She is still learning herself: “I haven’t mastered everything yet, I just roll with flow,” she commented.