And we didn't know much. The research wasn't really there. We did have minimal professional development. I remember going to a convention my junior or senior year of college, but it was focused on physical education -- more of a disease-prevention format. I would constantly go to professional development workshops, and in my fourth year of teaching, all of a sudden we realized, "Oh, we have an issue with suicide. Maybe we should talk about it." But we didn't know how to teach it. We just navigated it the best we could.
What was it like teaching health in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic?
When HIV came out, it was like, "How are we supposed to talk about this? We aren't supposed to talk about penises or vaginas, but we're supposed to prevent this disease?" We didn't have national sex education standards. We just had this disease we knew very little about. One time, I was doing a staff development workshop for the Northwest Wisconsin AIDS Resource Center, and the school said, "We want you to speak to our students, but you can't talk about x, y, and z." Even today, there are states that won't let you talk about anything except holding hands. In many ways, in 2016, we are still teaching like it's the 1970s.