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As a former teacher who taught many students far worse than Burris Ewell over the years, I know that Miss Caroline was at her wits' end following her tumultuous first day. Miss Caroline came into class a little too cocky and a little too presumptuous when it came to dealing with her young students, most of whom were attending school for the first time. Miss Caroline made many mistakes, one of which was criticizing Scout for being able to read and write--cursive, no less--and then assuming that Atticus--perhaps the most intelligent man in the town--was incapable of teaching his daughter. Although Miss Caroline was duly versed in many modern teaching methods, she failed to take into account the type of students she was teaching. Several, including Walter and Burris, were repeating the first grade. She didn't seem to realize that many of the students couldn't afford lunch money or have the proper parental supervision to bathe regularly. She was unable to control the noise in her class, prompting another teacher to threaten her with burning the class with "everybody in it." The class filed out for lunch break with Miss Caroline burying "her head in her arms."
Things got even worse after lunch. She screamed aloud upon seeing lice in Burris' hair; he responded by calling her a "snot-nosed slut." Little Chuck Little nearly pulled a knife to defend her from Burris, and Miss Caroline began crying again. The children felt sorry for her though, and after they encouraged her a bit, she blew her nose, and said "Thank you, darlings," before reading them a story from Wind in the Willows.
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