In PSHE class, teachers would preach about “gender equality”, but would then ask some “strong boys” to move the tables out of the way so that we could all sit in a circle to discuss “gender discrimination”.
Oh the irony!
During PSHE, I did not learn about gay or lesbian relationships from teachers: I learned about these relationships from peers calling each other “lesbos” and “faggots”; the media or a video that a teacher put on for us in class. The teacher would tell us to fill in a worksheet while we watched the video. While the sexual relationship education video was playing, the teacher would use the time to mark students’ homework from other classes. The teacher would not be watching the video. If we asked the teacher questions about the video afterwards, sometimes the teacher would turn bright red with embarrassment. If the teacher didn’t know the answer to a question s/he would refer us back to another worksheet or the video. All attempts of the teacher to teach PSHE would seem half hearted because the teacher had other work to mark. I think that lots of teachers didn’t agree with what they were being forced to teach us in PSHE. Children are observant and they pick up on hypocrisy: teachers would say that cigarettes can kill you, but the students would spot them “having a fag” at lunchtime. One teacher didn’t like teaching about “alcohol abuse” because he said that there was “nothing wrong with having the occasional drink”.
When pupils had finished the worksheets we were told to “talk amongst ourselves” by the teacher. This led to the teacher calling the girls “too chatty and giggly” and the boys “too loud and rowdy”.
Sigh. So much for so called “gender equality”.
My cousins and peers affectionately called PSHE “the doss lesson” or “the pratting about lesson”.
In the end, PSHE became a race for me to fill in the worksheet quickly so that I could get on with homework or test preparation for other subjects that I had to do. Another reason for doing these worksheets quickly was because the sex and relationship ones gave me panic attacks. My parents never talked about sexual relationships or body parts with me because they said that such things were “rude” and “filthy”.
In PSHE teachers (especially the female ones) said that motherhood was a horrible idea because it would prevent education opportunities, would drain money resources and stop the girl/woman from having a career. The women who taught us PSHE celebrated female astronauts and female scientists more than they did mothers or child careers.
As a female, PSHE did me a lot of damage relationship and family wise: it has made me the unsure, unfulfilled, nervous wreck that I am today!