In the class “Teaching Methods and Curriculum” at Smith College twenty student teacher who teach a range of different subjects in middle school and high school listened as Project Coach Blue Shirts Efrain, Loeb, Xavier and Ish spoke of their own schools and teachers. Efrain is a senior at Renaissance who takes core classes and was on the swim team last semester. When asked about his school’s weaknesses he said that there was little class selection since only four core classes are offered. Loeb, a junior from Central praised his school’s sports teams and when asked for a weakness he spoke of the high school drop out rate. Xavier, an eighth grader at Chestnut will attend Central next year. Ish is a sophomore at Central. When asked about effective teaching methods, Efrain spoke of his English teacher who held group discussions rather than constant lectures. Loeb’s History teacher writes the goals that he wants to meet by the end of each class, and underneath the big goal he write the smaller steps that they will take as a class to meet that final goal, providing a roadmap for the students.
The Blue Shirts were also asked what teachers should never do in their classrooms. Inconsistency really bothered the Blue Shirts and led to a loss of respect for the teacher. Efrain kept being told in one of his classes that he would be thrown out the next time he misbehaved but he was never throw out so he continues to misbehave because he could easily get away with it. Loeb spoke about teachers yelling. Once a teacher yells at you, you shut down for the rest of the year, he explained. Xavier was bothered by the favoritism that one of his teachers showed another student in class. Since the teacher was also the soccer coach, he favored the soccer player in his classroom. One student teacher voiced how impressed she was by the level of awareness and self-knowledge each of the Blue Shirts demonstrated. When one student teacher asked Ish what his philosophy about going to school is he answered, “School is going to get me somewhere in the long run”.