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  • Sexual references are prevalent in Greek mythology and in Mr. Beard's World Literature class. "Excuse me?" you say. Yes, you read that right. I blush at least once per class as I sit back with thirty students and listen to the stories of the Greek gods and mortals and their daily encounters. As I was preparing to teach my own lesson on Greek mythology, I worried about how I would discuss the sex, rape, and other scandalous events that happen in almost every story. "How will these teenagers take what I am saying and what will their reactions be?" I wondered. There is a vast difference between a teacher who has formed a respectful relationship with his students and a student teacher who has only been in the classroom a few weeks. I worried that some of the students might be inappropriate, and I really did not want to have to discipline someone for an off-handed comment on my first day teaching. But, I had to teach the students the story of Zeus impregnating a woman in the form of a golden rain regardless. Mr. Beard offered me a few jokes to use in the lesson because he knew I was nervous, although there was no way I was going to use them, and he assured me that these gifted students were mature enough to handle the subject. I began the lesson with another story of Greek mythology, but in the back of my mind all I could think about was talking to these students about SEX! So, I introduce the myth of Danae and Zeus and immediately a male student raises his hand. "Is this the story about Zeus as a golden shower getting Danae pregnant?" he asks. "Well," I stammered while laughing, "technically...uh, yes...I guess, but it's a golden rain." At the same time, Mr. Beard chimed in - "She must have had to stand on her head to get pregnant by golden rain, don't you think?" The whole class laughed and turned back to me to hear the rest of the story. Obviously, the situation wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, and we made it through my first lesson, sexual reference and all. Now, I am much more comfortable talking in front of the class even if it is about a provocative topic, and the students seem to respect me more for laughing along with them during the first discussion. We are all growing and learning together as a class, and the students are teaching me every day that sometimes I build things up in my head that can easily be laughed away.
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