All of my students have a story, though none of them are the same. Some have parents in prison, others live in group homes. Some were born to migrant families, others have lived in our zip code their whole lives. Most live below the poverty line, and all of them want a bright future.
Many enter my courses because it's an "easy elective" but they leave prepared for real life.
As a CTE (Career Technical Education) teacher, I strive to provide students with opportunities to prepare for their future roles as students, employees, parents, and community members. This requires real-world lessons about real-life issues they will face. And it requires meaningful discussions about their personal experiences and how they influence the future.
Sometimes our society stereotypes teens as entitled troublemakers, but I have found in working with my students that they are curious, compassionate, and connected individuals seeking happiness in life. They just need tools and mentoring to meet their goals.
Every woman knows what it is like to be in a public place and realize she has started her period, only to not have the right supplies with her. Many women turn to strangers for tampons or pads to avoid the embarrassing red spots in the back of their pants. Some resort to tying a jacket around their waist to cover their bottoms that may already be stained. At my high school of over 4,000 students, the students can get feminine supplies from the nurse, but at the cost of walking all the way across campus to the front office risking being seen by other students. Not to mention, the pads supplied by the office are comparable to diapers and students would rather spend the whole morning in the office than wear one. Even if the students get supplies, sometimes it is too late and they need a change of clothes in the event of leaks. Students could miss the whole class waiting for a parent or adult to bring them new clothes, and then they are missing important learning time.
For this project, my goal is to keep students in class and out of the nurse's office by making pads, tampons, and clean underwear/pants available to students in a time of need.
Since I am the Social Living (Individual and Family Health) teacher, I am asked almost daily by my female students for a pad or a tampon. Students know they can come to me for these supplies. Having this supply stash will allow students to avoid the embarrassing walk to the office and get them back to class so they can learn and live confidently.
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