The Upperclassmen Guide to Underrated Courses

As each year goes by, it seems as if it is harder to decide which classes to take or even if there are any left in a particular pathway. With the plethora of course options, it’s difficult for students to know what classes to take or what classes are going to keep students engaged. While some students prefer a more hands-on approach to their courses, others may seek a stable formatted routine to their days behind a desk. Here are some preferred courses of students to help lessen the daunting task of deciding what classes to take.

Core / Advanced Placement courses

Newly introduced into the course catalog, Blended English IV is offered for seniors who want a flexible environment and more opportunities for a self-directed learning experience. The class sizes are smaller for more in-depth lesson. Classes are held Tuesday through Thursday during first period. Mondays and Fridays are used for tutorials, and students are not required to attend on these days. 

“I like the flexibility of the class and being able to work on projects or work on my own time. I also enjoy collaborating with others in my class and being able to work with new people,” shared Senior Tylicia Brown. “Since it’s a small class, we are able to participate in more group discussions and get help from each other, and of course the time out of class on Mondays and Fridays are nice as well.”

Advanced Placement United States History is a college credit class in which students are given the opportunity to receive credit hours for college courses by taking the AP exam. Fondly referred to as APUSH, it is a year-long course that focuses on stimulus-based subject matter, and it allows students to dive into each subject and receive a deeper meaning in the material. APUSH stands out as a must-take class not only because of the college credit at stake, but the subject matter is made genuinely interesting due to the teachers that teach it. 

“I love APUSH because it answered a lot of my questions about how our society got its traditions. Studying the positives and negatives of our history made me more passionate about topics like civil rights and environmental protection,” said Senior Mackenzie Panganiban. “It also made me understand that our generation can’t make the same mistakes that were made in the past.”

Taking a step further into history, AP European History goes past the surface level knowledge of European history gained in AP World History. Known as AP Euro, students go in-depth into the past of European countries, and see history from a different perspective. The course involves smaller class sizes, which provides students to create closer bonds amongst taking a closer look into European History. 

“I loved how we were able to go so in-depth into the history of a specific region. The passion Metcalf had for teaching the content allowed me to reflect his passion. It’s a hefty workload, but I came out stronger, so therefore I think others should take it,” recounted Senior Emma Dovers.

AP Government is a semester-long class taught by Michael Otto that is targeted to give students an understanding of the government and how to make informed decisions when it comes to voting in the future. The class is mainly lecture based, which enables students to better understand the material and not get distracted. With the class being limited to a semester, it moves fast, but the out of class assignments are limited, which is seen as a benefit for the chance at gaining college credit. 

“AP [Government] is great because Mr. Otto is an exceptional teacher. Everyone needs a government credit to graduate and the class’s curriculum isn’t exactly flashing and exciting, but Mr. Otto makes the class engaging and interactive and I can say I have not only learned a lot about government but also a lot about the real world, “ boasted Senior Madison Galer.

Giving students the ability to understand key science practices that can be used to develop predictions, AP Biology teaches students to develop advanced reasoning and learn more about life itself. Well known as AP Bio, students are taught through lectures and hands-on experiments, allowing them to learn the material in many different ways. One of the experiments students did was a gel electrophoresis lab where they grew E. coli in order to learn about DNA. Taught by Alan Cotten, the class relates the material to real life cases and present-day scientific discoveries. 

“Mr. Cotten is a great teacher and made me genuinely want to learn in his class. We learned a lot of information in engaging ways and he gave us many opportunities to succeed in class,” recalled Senior Katelin Tran.

Elective courses

Money Matters is a financial literacy course that aids students in understanding how to handle money and leads students to a debt-free life. The course is based off of Dave Ramsey’s “Foundations in Personal Finance,” which is targeted towards young adults to demonstrate financial freedom. The class is a full year course, which includes fun projects that involve managing stocks and seeing how the market varies, as well as seeing how to get rid of debt in a easy process.

“If I ever get into debt or something along those lines, I know how to get out of it by paying a small amount at a time. Taking [Money Matters] teaches you real life situations that you will go through everyday. How to handle money and what to do with it is an extremely big aid that my parents tell me they wish they had in high school,” vocalizes Junior Cathryn Corona.

Directing is a course that offers students more in-depth opportunities in the theatre pathway, requiring prerequisite theater classes. Students are given the choice to compete against one another to submit a student-directed piece that will represent Timber Creek at a district level competition. Directing class gives them the resources to learn how to direct pieces by providing them with a platform to make their creations come to life. 

Directing was such an interesting class to be in. It was an advanced level of theatre that you couldn’t take until your junior year, so everyone in the class was there because they had a passion for it. Through directing my own pieces in theatre, I was able to have a creative output and meet so many great people who shared my interests,” Senior Madison Galer expressed.

Not many classes give the opportunity for students to argue and articulate upon things they are passionate about. However, Debate breaks the mold. There are no required prerequisites for the course, and it is meant to help students formulate opinions in a productive stimulating environment for students to grow. Debate I introduces different styles of debate and how they work. Debate courses that follow are competition team classes, which get the chance to compete in UIL events. 

“I love it because I get to discuss really interesting topics and test my knowledge against people from all over the state at tournaments, plus everyone on the team is friends, so it’s kind of like a second family. I’d recommend debate to anyone who has the chance to take it,” stated Senior Gus Jones. “Even if competition just isn’t your thing, the class still offers a lot of knowledge.”

Marching on the field is just the surface of a band student’s life. Participating in the Band program requires practices before and after school, competitions on weekends, and performances throughout the year. Seemingly intimidating, students involved in the program improve their skills with the devoted directors and students willing to lend a hand for the overall success of the band. While band is a commitment in and out of school, students are able to represent their talents and create a family centered around the mutual accomplishments of each other. 

“I love the family that forms when you’re in band. Coming into high school as a freshman with few friends can be scary but coming into band camp a month before school even starts really helps you to build a foundation of people who will support you and stay with you through all of high school,” Senior Erin Obregon admired. “I think others should be in band because it teaches you life skills you wouldn’t learn anywhere else.”

On the course catalog, it referred to as Broadcast Journalism, but to students, it’s TCTV. Broadcast Journalism prepares students who are interested in being in front of or behind the camera and informing the community. Other than producing daily announcements and a weekly live show, TCTV offers a radio program and sports network all in one class. The day-to-day is constantly in flux, but students get the opportunity to create content for the school, be on the sidelines at games, and make playlists for the whole school to hear. TCTV Senior Joshua Tallman expresses his broadcasting experience.

“I love how I get to be a part of a student media class that really dives deep into what it’s like to work in the industry and we got a lot of advice from adults in the field and that’s helpful,” Tallman discloses. “I also love the friendships I’ve created over the last two years in TCTV, it’s been a blessing.”

Caroline Epperson

Written by 

Hi, Im Caroline Epperson and I write stories for the Talon and I'm the news producer for TCTV, which I think is pretty cool. I also like dogs and criminal minds.

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