Interview with a grade-four 'E' student

Q. How old are you, Alex?

A. Nine. I'll be 10 in September.

Q. What grade are you in?

A. Fourth.

Q. Is it harder than last year, when you were in third grade?

A. Yes. The hardest part is math, and doing double-digit division.

Q. Do you like your teacher?

A. She's all right. But she's always yelling.

Q. What do you mean when you say she is always yelling?

A. Well, if you start to go out for a drink of water, she'll yell at you and say you have to go up to her and ask her permission.

Q. Is your teacher married?

A. I guess so. She's called ''Mrs.''

Q. Does your teacher read to you?

A. Yes. She reads to us for 15 minutes in ''story time,'' and she reads after lunch recess.

Q. What has she read to you lately?

A. ''Hairry Cat's Pet Puppy'' and ''Bed-Knobs and Broomsticks.'' She's reading ''101 Dalmations'' now.

Q. Does she use the blackboard much?

A. Hardly ever. But she uses the overhead projector for math problems.

Q. Do you have to do any homework?

A. Yes, whatever I don't finish in class. And for ''sharing'' I have to find some animal or bird or something and write a report on it and take whatever I'm sharing to class and read my report. I'm going to take a road runner if I can get one. I like road runners.

Q. Does anyone at home help you with your homework or give you extra work to do?

A. My Dad goes over my work, and he makes me write a short paragraph every day, and he makes me read a book a week.

Q. What do you like best of what you are doing, and do you think you are getting better at it?

A. Reading. Yes, I'm getting better. I'd get a grade of E, I think, or maybe S.

Q. What are E and S?

A. The best is E. That's Excellent. S is Satisfactory. The worst is P. That's Poor.

Q. What sort of grades do you get in school?

A. Mostly E's, and some S's.

Q. Do you think your teacher is fair in grading?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you like your classroom? Is it decorated with pictures drawn by students?

A. Yes, I like it. I'd give it an S. There are pictures of whales all around. Two of them are ones I drew. Everybody seems to like whales.

Q. Do you eat a lunch prepared at school, or do you take a bag lunch from home?

A. I mostly eat at school. It costs $1 for lunch. They give us a menu of what we'll have every day for a month. When they have something I don't like, I bring a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich.

Q. What do you do during recess?

A. I like to play football. My favorite last year was tetherball.

Q. Have you many friends in your class?

A. Four boys are my best friends. They're E. Then there are two S's and one P.

Q. Do you see your friends after school?

A. Yes. Sometimes I go to their house, and sometimes I call them up and ask them to come to my house. We play Atari.

Q. Do you think you'll like fifth grade?

A. I guess so. How am I going to know until next year?

That was the end of the interview. He was beginning to ask me questions.

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