1. What is the subject of Kidder's story? Is it fiction or non-fiction? How does he go about learning about his subject?
The book is about the education of children and the experience of teaching. It is non-fiction, and based on Kidder's yearlong attendance in the fifth grade classroom of Chris Zajac, a veteran teacher.
2. In the first chapter, what does the reader learn about Mrs. Zajac? How old is she? How long has she been a teacher? Does she have a family?
Mrs. Zajac is a thirty-four year old teacher. She has been teaching for fourteen years when Tracy Kidder observes in her classroom. She is married with two children, a preschool girl, and a first grade boy.
3. What was the name of Mrs. Zajac's school and where was it located? What did we know about the school? What was the make-up of the student body in her classroom?
Mrs. Zajac taught fifth grade at Kelly School in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The school was in the middle of an industrial area of the city surrounded by warehouses and factories. The Connecticut River flowed behind the factories. Half of Mrs. Zajac's students were Puerto Rican, the rest African American and white.
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