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Write here only if you have personal experience of working as a geochemist. Why did you decide to become one? What are your qualifications? What are the ups and downs of the profession?

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      04.12.2003 06:50
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      There are some of you that may already know about my experiences of being a peer educator but for those of you that dont I thought that I would write a little about what it is and how it works. There is not a specific category for this subject so this is about the nearest I could get, I have asked for a new category to be listed so if does get done I will ask Dooyoo to move it for me. What is Peer Education? ---------------------------------- Basically, peer education is something that is done by people who are of roughly around the same sort of age as the people that are being taught. By this I mean, that if you were educating 15 year olds about something then the educators are not all that much older than them, the maximum age gap for most peer educators is 10 years. Peer educators are used quite widely now and the idea behind it is that people often prefer to talk to people nearer to their own age group about certain issues. Ok, now you know what peer education is, I am now going to tell you what I do. About 9 months ago I was approached by a lady who asked me a rather strange question. She said "excuse me love, are you or were you a teenage parent? The only reason I ask, is that you have a baby with you and you look quite young." I told her that I was and she asked me how I would feel about sharing my experience with other young people. I told her that it sounded like a good idea and I went along to the taster session that was arranged for the following week. When I got to the session, I was gobsmacked. I thought that I was being invited to a coffee morning for teenage parents or something like that. How wrong was I?!! It was explained to me and the other young mums there that the company wanted us to train as peer educators and go into schools and talk to the students about what it was really like to be a young parent and how it has affected our lives. Very different to a coffee morning, but all th
      e same I was very glad that I went along. Me and another 7 girls agreed to do the training and we started the following week. We trained for 14 weeks and covered everything that you could think of to do with contraception, STI's, parenting, budgeting, the CSA and emotions. We were also trained on how to talk to the kids, what we can and can't say, religious matters affecting parenting and abortion, reading out loud, public speaking and a whole host of other things. At the end of the 14 weeks my poor old brain felt like mush, I had learnt so much! We were then ready to go into schools. Our training had only been short but most of the things that we were talking to the kids about was pretty much down to our experiences and down to common sense. We had been booked by 2 local schools and we were in each school for 3 weeks at a time teaching one class. For legal reasons we are not allowed to teach mix sexed classes so we split into 2 groups and one group each taught the boys or the girls. I have been teaching the boys. My first session with the boys was a little shaky but as soon as I had got over the initial nerves it was great. We have now been in schools for the last 2 months and we have lots of bookings already been made for next year. The kind of things we do with the students, who are all in year 10 so aged around 14-15, are; The budgeting game, we give them an amount of "paper" money and get them to work out how they would spend it during the course of the week if they had a child and a house to look after. The condom demo - well pretty self explanitory really! Brainstorming on subjects like parenting and contaception. The kids have all taken to the work really easily and have said that they have learnt a lot. This project has been run in a number of different areas over the country and so far the teenage pregnancy rates in those areas have decreased considerably. Th
      is is something that I feel all schools should do with kids, as sex education is really not enough to prepare kids for the real world. When I became responsible for a house of my own for the first time I was so nieve and didn't even know that you had to pay for things like water and I ended up getting quite far into debt because of silly things like that. These skills are essential I believe and I can't see why they aren't covered on the national curriculum, we have only taught these kids for a total of 3 hours in the time that we have been in school with, 1 hour a week, how hard would that be for teachers to incorporate into their lesson plans?! The funding for this project ends in March of next year but me and some of the other girls are hoping to carry it on ourselves and hopefully recieve some extra funding. Fingers crossed!!! Carebare XX

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