Students learn how to avoid dating a jerk

Mar 17 2010 - 10:15pm

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(BETH SCHLANKER/Standard-Examiner) Naomi Weeks, a USU Extension agent, teaches the 'How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk (or Jerk-ette)' course during an AVID class at Ogden High School.
(BETH SCHLANKER/Standard-Examiner) Naomi Weeks, a USU Extension agent, teaches the 'How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk (or Jerk-ette)' course during an AVID class at Ogden High School.

OGDEN -- Ogden High School sophomores Mariela Arevalu and Nancy Chavez asked a simple question in one of their class tutorials that sparked a whole class series: "Why do I always like the guys that are the jerks?"

Their teacher, Suzie Davis, noticed the question and wondered how she could help her students with this problem. She found the answer while working out the gym.

"I noticed this flyer on the wall about how to avoid dating a jerk and called about it," Davis said.

The class, offered by the Utah State University Extension service, was originally set up for adults to take and is called, "How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk (or Jerkette)," but USU Extension agent Naomi Weeks has just started teaching the eight-week course in junior high and high schools.

"I think it's a great idea because relationships are the single biggest roadblock to kids getting their education and getting through college," Davis said.

The course is being taught to her AVID class, a class set up for students to help them get good grades in high school and prepare for college.

Students just had their third lesson from Weeks this week and it is already changing the way many are thinking about dating.

"We need to get to know them first," Chavez said of "falling" for guys too quickly. Both girls are also glad there are boys in the class to hear the perspective as well.

"It is very educational. I am already evaluating the way I am with my significant other," said sophomore Eli Morales.

Weeks pulled out a large poster with a scale for five different subjects: know, trust, rely, commitment and touch and asked for volunteers to come up and evaluate a relationship in their life by using the scale. Weeks explained to students that it takes at least three to six months for people to get to know people as their "true self" in a relationship. Many students were surprised by that, but then it made sense.

"The chart is really interesting and now I know a guy should treat me right and have commitment and trust," said sophomore Carolina Lopez.

The course has an accompanying book with questions and evaluation segments that the students work on each week. Weeks also shares personal experiences with the students that she hopes they can relate to. One of the topics of the class relates to families and how big of a role they play in how people are in relationships.

She told students to pay attention to how that person you are dating is with other people.

"If they are lying to other people when they are around you, they are eventually going to lie to you," Weeks said. The students nodded in agreement.

Weeks likes teaching the course to high school students because they are in a place to be ready to talk about dating issues. In junior highs it has been a bit different.

"The class is good for them (junior high students) just to learn about relationships," Weeks said. Weeks will be teaching the class at Ben Lomond High School and also teaches the class at the Department of Workforce Services. She also teaches the class occasionally for adults.

Chavez is enjoying the class and appreciates the fact that her teacher got the course going.

"She actually listened to me. She heard us whining a lot about guys," Chavez said.

For more information on the course or where it is being offered, visit the Web site at www.strongermarriage.org or call Weeks at (801) 399-8207.

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