IPR Offers Relationship, Life Advice

Meghan Braddy, Reporter

Each semester brings new challenges, classes, and opportunities for students. One of the new classes that Griffith High School has added for the 2018-2019 school year is, interpersonal relationships (IPR). A class where students can mostly talk about their feelings, IPR addresses knowledge and skills needed for positive and productive relationships in career, community, and family settings.

Taught by Sara Novak, IPR dives into communication skills, leadership, teamwork, conflict prevention, and relationship building. Since IPR is not primarily a sitting and working class, students will be pursuing multiple group activities where they will find themselves up and out of their seats. Freshman Payton Kinder, a student enrolled in IPR, said, “I thought it was going to be a lot more notes and worksheets, but it’s actually more exciting and hands on.” Kinder works on activities everyday with her ‘family unit’. A ‘family unit’ is the group of people Kinder and others in the class will be working with for the rest of the semester. Just like a family at home, each person in Novak’s class has a classroom job that they have to do to keep their ‘family unit’ in order. Along with that, the students have created family names and a code of ethics that they have to follow in order to respect their ‘family members’ in the classroom.

IPR is a class that also teaches students about themselves, who they aspire to be, and what relationships they choose to have. Novak said, “It’s a class where students learn about their personalities, values, morals, and how that all relates to the friends that they pick, and the relationships that they have.” One of the ways Novak has helped students to accomplish this is by having them write journals. Journals are a way for students to write about whatever is on their mind, and have all of it be confidential. Novak said, “I love journals. I give my class a prompt to have themselves examine their aspects of life. Students are able to write whatever they want based on that. I respond back to them based on their journals.” Students have already taken this opportunity to write as little or as much in depth as they please.

So far, Novak has taught her students about their personalities, teamwork, and codes of ethics. She has opened up their minds to not only a world where they can understand themselves better, but most importantly understand their existing relationships with other people. The only rule that Novak has is that it’s more fun when students participate. “Students get from the class what they put into the class. If they’re willing to take a deeper look at themselves and their views on life, then they will learn more about the relationships they have and communicating in those relationships,” said Novak.

Most students were randomly put into IPR to fill up their schedules, but some students, like Kinder, chose to take the class this semester. Kinder said, “I thought it sounded

interesting and I didn’t know what it was about, so I decided to try it out. I already like how positive Miss Novak is, and how she is always giving us feedback.”

Novak still wishes everyday that more students took IPR, because she believes that there are many realistic advantages for students to acquire while taking the class. “It’s one of my favorite classes to teach and I wish everyone took it, because everyone has relationships, goals, and needs to communicate in life. It’s the only class where I really get to know my students and their views on life,” said Novak.

IPR changes students ways of thinking and inspires them to be the best version of themselves. It encourages them to tackle the tough battles that everyone faces in high school, and guides students to realize who they want in their lives. Novak wants more and more people to get involved with the experiences IPR has to offer. It teaches them about what’s real in life, and not a lot of classes can do that.