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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS & HELPS » Site Help and Service » A Question for Heather... And, well, anyone else who can answer!

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Author Topic: A Question for Heather... And, well, anyone else who can answer!
Emilbee
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Member # 48737

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It's getting to be that time for me to start considering post-secondary education, and I've recently come to the conclusion that I'd really like to become a sexual educator. So, I have a few questions about it:

First of all, what is your background in terms of education?
What do you do in a daily basis as a sexual educator? Is it mostly counseling, or are there other components as well? Do you make rounds through the local schools and give presentations?
Finally, how is the salary (on average)? Should I also be considering jobs within the same field that might help me receive a better pay, should that alone not be sufficient?

Thank you very much. This means a lot, especially since I'm in the process of convincing my parents that this is a good idea. They approve completely of the career choice, they just want more detail. [Smile]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Emilbee, I'm heading out for the day, but I'll be sure to come in and talk to you about this tomorrow!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Emilbee
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Haha, alright, let me thank you ahead of time! [Smile]
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Karybu
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 20094

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(Don't want to derail here, Emilbee, but if you'd like a perspective from someone who has completed some schooling and plans to go into more the academic side of sexuality education, I'd be happy to contribute. Just holler!)

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Thanks for waiting!

So, my own educational background is in the arts and humanities, creative writing, sociology and education. I went to a liberal arts college (before there were any sexuality education programs in higher ed, alas!), and simply made a point of focusing on eroticism and sexuality in the arts, humanities and sociology. Then I later got additional training and education in the Montessori method of education. Outside school, I've done a lot of field work and professional training in sexual health, human sexuality and education.

How I do sex ed is, perhaps obviously, not the only way to do sex ed. There's a huge number of ways to do this job.

The way it works for me lately is that I work mostly online as the executive director of this organization, doing direct service like the message boards here and then also writing articles for this site and other publications. I also wrote a book, and will likely write more, and do a good deal of media outreach. Additionally, I do in-person education and lecturing, albeit less frequently (public speaking is not one of my fave things to do, just not a performer), and that sometimes has involved schools, but more often is something I do in other environments, like at the teen homeless shelter I currently do sex education programming for, or via clinics. Additionally, I do education and training for medical professionals and other youth-serving folks.

On the money issue. You know, more than once, I've sat in a conversation with other sex educators where we have all struggled with how honest to be with folks who ask that about pay, because we worry it will discourage people. I tend to be a proponent on the side of honesty, especially as someone who grew up poor and has often remained so in my adult life, so I never want anyone to go into something unprepared for financial struggles.

The pay usually really sucks. Like, really sucks. It's very typical, in fact, to even have to work for free a lot the first few years you work in this field, sometimes longer. A lot of why the pay usually sucks so bad is that there are very few work opportunities in the first place, especially on a full-time basis.

So, my best advice there is to try and find a way to get the training you want in this field with something that pays better and/or where you can do sex ed within something with a decent paycheck, like doing other clinical work, educating in another field or setting additionally or even just choosing something secondary to do that can support you well.

For example, I've been able to (barely, but still) support myself over the years by doing this work and also doing other kinds of teaching, work in clinics and doing freelance writing and consulting.

Happy to fill you in more if you like, but that's what I can get you started with. [Smile]

[ 02-04-2011, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Emilbee
Neophyte
Member # 48737

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I apologize for taking so long to reply, but thank you so much for answering my questions!

I just have a few questions to add, in light of your reply: Considering that I seem to be most interested in the sociology, politics, and activism of sexuality, are there any other jobs within the same field that are perhaps more financially stable? I really do want to have a job that allows me to inform others of the world of information that comes with being a sexual being.

Also, I've been meaning to see if I could volunteer at a local sexual resource centre. However, I am having a hard time finding one (Saint John, NB), and I know for a fact that the closest Planned Parenthood is over an hour away. I tell you, it is completely plausible that my city does not provide any sort of sexual resources. What else could I be doing, in terms of volunteer work and the like, to further educate myself before I start applying for universities?

Thank you so much. [Smile]

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Emilbee: I think your best bet with looking at careers in that area that also include sex ed are to talk to the guidance or career counselor at your school.

That said, that group of areas certainly could lend itself for working for political advocacy organizations, or for teaching (for instance, you could work as a general soc prof who also did sex ed at a uni you worked at). Of course, you could also work for a political group or politician who supports sex education, too.

Here are two possible resources/places to volunteer I found in your area:
• http://www.nlsexualhealthcentre.org/
• http://www.acnl.net/

Even if all or any of those seem far from where you are, go ahead and call them. They may well know avenues for you to volunteer closer to where you are.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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