How Blair's Resource class help students with a variety of personal goals beyond just academics
Note: Where only first names appear, names have been changed to protect the identities of the sources.
When the bell rings for seventh period, junior Jennifer steps into her last class of the day: Resource. Rather than pulling out a notebook to take notes or a Chromebook to join a Nearpod lesson, Jennifer is joined by Blair's Resource teacher, Kimani Middleton, who asks her about how her other classes are going, and if she needs him to email any of her teachers for help. For the remainder of the class, Jennifer has the options to complete work for other classes, finish her Resource's assigned reading Buck: A Memoir by M. K. Asante, or to just have a conversation about life.
The Resource class at Blair is part of the Alternative One Program, a program designed to help students struggling with grades or consistent attendance. In this class, students focus on a variety of topics, such as current events, finding jobs, and decision-making skills, that are directly applicable to real life. Students also go on field trips to other academic institutions and parks for nature walks, and are visited by guest speakers throughout the year. The field trips and guest speakers inform students of academic and career opportunities, and the nature walks serve as a way for students to relax after a stressful week.
Beyond field trips and guest speakers, students are able to spend most of class doing any schoolwork they have.
However, Jennifer's favorite part of Resource isn't the academic support it provides. The additional focus on students' lives and wellbeings rather than just academics or careers is what Jennifer values most about Middleton's class. "I just like having conversations about things besides school… We talk about personal things," Jennifer explains.
According to Middleton, students in Resource are able to seek support for personal things in their lives, or simply take a small break from the school day. "It's kind of like a therapeutic setting – [students can] talk to me about what's wrong… sometimes kids will just come in to get a snack," Middleton explains.
Similarly to Jennifer, one of junior Amanda's favorite things about the Resource class is how students are able to discuss and seek support for nonschool-related subjects. "I love how it's not just about schoolwork, but you can [go] to the teacher about almost anything. Like if you wanted to look for a certain job, he can help you with that. Or if you need help with something at home… he's always there to help," Amanda explains.
Students are also able to spend much of class time completing assignments for other classes, which can be extremely beneficial for students that do not have the time at home. Jennifer uses this time to complete all of her schoolwork. "This class helps me finish my homework, finish in-class work that I didn't finish, and I'm able to get all my work done," Jennifer says.
Senior Emily has also found Resource to be helpful in managing schoolwork. "Having Mr. Middleton on my back and telling me, 'Make sure you do this, make sure you do that' — it's very helpful. Like right now, I almost have straight A's," Emily says.
Emily's responsibilities outside of Blair, such as taking care of her daughter and taking additional online courses, makes being able to do schoolwork in Resource especially helpful. "Every morning, I wake up at like 6:00… I drop my mom off... then I drop [my brothers off], and then I drop my daughter off at her dad's. It's a lot," Emily says.
Emily also finds communication with other teachers to be easier with the help of Middleton. " If you can't communicate, he'll communicate for you," she explains.
Although providing students with help for other classes might make Resource seem similar to study hall, one crucial difference is how Resource specifically helps students find jobs, programs and academic pathways that fit their interests.
For Jennifer, one of her biggest interests is cosmetology. "I like to make other people feel pretty, and I like to make myself feel pretty," she explains. Since she learned about the cosmetology program at Thomas Edison High School, Jennifer can now apply to join Edison's cosmetology program next year.
After high school, Jennifer wants to continue to work in cosmetology. "I want to do [everything] that has to do with cosmetology, whether that's making my own skin care line, doing hair, doing nails, make-up," Jennifer says.
For Emily, her plan for after high school is to get her Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) certificate. Emily wants to work in hospitals to help seniors, which stems from her love of helping others. "When it comes to helping people, I would not hesitate to jump in or [to] do what I got to do to make people happy," Emily explains.
Amanda is also interested in working in healthcare. Originally, Amanda was interested in becoming a lawyer, but after taking a few law-related classes last year, she decided that law was not for her. However, after being introduced to travel nurse careers through social media, Amanda quickly became interested.
Travel nurses are registered nurses who work short-term at different hospitals to help fill in nurse shortages, which often allows them to work and live in various different countries in a short amount of time. Travel nurses are also usually employed by an agency rather than a hospital.
For Amanda, the freedom and independence from traveling is one of the most appealing aspects of being a travel nurse. "I love the part [where], instead of being stuck in just one hospital, [you can] travel to different hospitals and you could help out in different situations," Amanda explains.
Even if students don't figure out their dream career during their time in Resource, the resource and information about different academic programs the class provides are still beneficial in helping students explore career possibilities and gain applicable knowledge. Ultimately, Blair's Resource class doesn't have one specific focus. Rather, the class helps students with a variety of subjects, ranging from academics to jobs to personal issues. With its flexible structure, what each student takes away from the class depends on what the individual student needs. At the end of the day, Middleton summarizes his Resource class best: "It's a little bit of everything," Middleton says.
Kathereen Yang. hi! My name is Kathereen and I'm a junior writer. I enjoy reading and running, and I'm currently trying to figure out how to make pizza (without burning it). More »