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The first thing I noticed about the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM)- Sexuality Education Certification Series (SECS) was how accessible the building was. You can access the building via public transit, though there is parking in the area. For those who would like to walk, many of the hotels are located within a 5 mile radius. The accessibility to the building was nice, however I loved how the inside of the building takes into account accessibility and inclusiveness that (as you will see) is a large part of what makes the PPLM training so good. I used AirBnB.com to find lodging, but there are a number of hotels in the area that are within the radius of public transit (though you should probably buy your “T” pass at the train station or airport.)
One of the most interesting things I found about the space was the 35-foot buffer zone that protects those entering the clinic from protesters. I found that despite the lack of protesters during my visit, that the buffer zone really helped assuage my anxieties. I found that my best guess of professional casual (not quite business casual, but also not quite casual) was pretty on point as some people came in business casual, and others far more casual. I would recommend layering as Boston’s December weather was quite sporadic.
When I first signed up for the training, I foolishly made the assumption that it would be a training that dealt with sex education for adults. For some reason, my brain didn’t associate that sexuality education would necessarily be for schools. Imagine my surprise when I went on to find that most of the educators in that room were dealing with children and teenagers.
What was really amazing was the vast experience of knowledge! There were healthcare workers, teachers, social workers, and so many more. The number of people who simply looked so excited to learn how to talk about sex education was heartwarming, and hearing them talk about their experiences, and how devoted they were to their students made *me* want to become a teacher of small children. Boston schools are lucky to have so many amazing individuals.
As for the training itself, I have to say that the language was my favorite part. The educators were super inclusive to everyone along the the every spectrum. They were not dismissive of any one group, and they worked very hard to ensure that everyone had a chance to feel heard and respected. Some of the most reassuring moments were times when the educators recognized and admitted that they could be wrong, or that they needed to do more research on a topic. It made me feel great to see that these were seasoned educators and that it is okay to not know everything. Unfortunately, one of my least favorite things was that the time was so short, that I feel some things were rushed, and others were completely skipped over. If I was to give any critique of the program, I would mention that this program probably should last for an entire week.
I went into this education thinking that I wouldn’t learn anything, or wouldn’t learn much. Truthfully as far as the scientific facts go, I didn’t learn very much that I didn’t know already (shout out to epididymal hypertension!), but the information I did learn was far more important. I learned to communicate better. This was not just with children and teens either. I learned to communicate better with adults. I learned new things to try when teaching my workshops, and new tricks that will overall make me a better educator, a better listener, and a better friend.
It is because of these communication techniques, and the wonderful experience with the PPLM staff that I wholeheartedly recommend the PPLM SECS training to anyone who is interested in becoming a sex educator!
Until Next Time!
-The Frisky Fairy