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Scout makes 3 mistakes on her first day of school. What were her mistakes, and why...

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kkkjjj | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 18, 2009 at 12:26 AM via web

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Scout makes 3 mistakes on her first day of school. What were her mistakes, and why did they make Miss Caroline so angry?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 18, 2009 at 1:29 AM (Answer #1)

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Scout certainly starts off on the wrong foot her first day of school.  First, she demonstrates that she knows how to read.  Second, she demonstrates that she knows how to write.  Third, she tries to offer an explanation for Walter Cunningham's behavior when Miss Caroline tries to give him money for lunch. 

It may seem odd that a teacher would be angry over a child who could already read and write, but as we read this section of the book, we can see what an insecure and rigid teacher Miss Caroline is.  She says that Atticus and Calipurnia have damaged Scout by teaching her how to read and write, so we can see that she believes there is only one way to learn, her way. 

Her lack of understanding about the Cunninghams stems from the fact that she is not a local woman and has no knowledge of any local families.  When Scout tries to explain, Miss Caroline is made even more insecure.

A good teacher is always happy to learn about new ideas and about his or her students, and the "portrait" of Miss Caroline is one of a teacher who is not very successful.

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