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Miss Caroline Fisher
What do you think of Miss Caroline Fisher as a teacher?
Although she thinks she is doing her job, Miss Caroline is a very poor teacher. Nothing proves this more than her reaction when she realizes that Scout is a good reader. Instead of being happy about this, she scolds Scout and tells her to tell Atticus to stop teaching her at home. Miss Caroline says, "Your father does not know how to teach." Miss Caroline is also arrogant. She tells Scout that she will try to "undo the damage" Atticus has done.
Because Scout is ahead of the class in her skills, Miss Caroline does not know what to do with her. Instead of encouraging Scout to keep learning at her own fast pace, she ignorantly and selfishly tries to slow down her progress. Miss Caroline should not be in a classroom.
If nothing else, this scene in the book demonstrates the importance of a teacher knowing her students and the need for teachers to be knowledgeable about the district within which they teach. Miss Caroline seemed completely unprepared for the group of students she had. THough perhaps she was a good teacher in terms of content, she clearly demonstrates a very old model of what a teacher had to be, which did not emphasize the need for an open mind, awareness of the surrounding environment, and sincere acceptance of her student population.
It appears that Miss Caroline did not fully understand the dynamics of her classroom. For example, Walter Cunningham had no shoes on, should the fact that he had no lunch been a surprise to her? When she offered Walter a quarter in front of the entire class to buy some lunch and becomes impatient when he does not accept it shows ignorance on her part (the boy had no shoes, would he have the quarter to pay her back???) Scout tried to explain the dynamics of Walter's situation and Miss Caroline struck her with a ruler, perhaps out of frustration, or perhaps as a way to make her mistakes someone else's fault. Miss Caroline is not a teacher. Teaching is a gift and if one possesses that gift it can be crafted. Whether deliberate or not, Miss Caroline's only success was a belittling the children.
This is the kind of question you should be asking yourself. So think to yourself. Is she interesting? Is she nice? And so on and something that might help other than askng people this question is looking through your notes if you have any, and any resources you have.
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