Editorial: New classes revitalize school life

Editorial Staff

Have you ever been in a class you really loved? A class that didn’t feel like work? One that on the way to school each morning you were already excited about walking into?

When it happens, it’s an experience that sticks with us forever. But this year, a high number of courses failed to draw enough student interest to actually be offered.

All the classes on Redwood’s curriculum are offered every year, but only those which enough students sign up for actually come to fruition. Twelve classes, including Women’s History, Beginning Guitar, and Topics in Modern Math, failed to draw the minimum sign ups this year.

March Editorial Cartoon

Some of those classes haven’t been popular for a number of years, and some just recently lost their numbers. Either way the implication is the same: a portion of our curriculum is becoming stale or irrelevant to students.

We’re lucky that Redwood is characterized by its wide array of courses in each department, and the freedom that students have to shape their schedules. But the fact that so many courses didn’t make their sign up quotas this year signals that the course catalog could be overdue for an update.

Many of the courses offered at Redwood are like old books, the longer they sit on the shelf collecting dust, the fewer students there will be with a desire to take them.

We could mourn the 12 classes which have failed to draw enough interest to save themselves, or we can get excited about the future of our course offerings. If much of our curriculum is becoming irrelevant in the eyes of students, then a period of new curriculum adoption and design for all departments should soon be upon us.

In the laissez-faire reality that is course selections, once popular options are, for whatever reason, looking obsolete. Let’s embrace that reality and get to work on implementing new classes to spark some serious interest.

Some have already set excellent examples of just that kind of action. English teachers Steve Hettleman and Eric Brody both brought new classes to life this year from nothing, writing curriculum, trying out lessons, and promoting the courses to potential students.

The result? Language of Humor and San Francisco Short Stories became two highly popular English classes yielding positive feedback and a beautiful precedent for what new courses should look like.

Why keep ourselves from experiencing more awesome classes? If there is curriculum out there that satisfies educational outcomes and revitalizes student excitement about learning, we owe it to ourselves as a school to bring that curriculum to life.

Of course this process is a two-way street. We students have to have our priorities in check when we sign up for classes, and pursue courses that actually grab our interest when they are offered. No matter what it says on our transcripts, taking a class for the wrong reasons — the easy option or the one that’s best for college — almost never brings as much fulfillment as taking one that really interests us.

A music department without an introductory course, Beginning Guitar, is a red flag, but maybe we would be better off with something else. Be it composition, hip-hop, choir, or electronic, options to revitalize student interest in that area are limitless.

The 12 classes we went without this year have all been valuable life experiences for students in the past, but those days have come and gone.

Let’s get excited about potential new curriculum. The intuition is here, we just need motivated people to spark the change.