In Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, what are three things Scout gets into trouble for on the first day of school?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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In Chapter 2 of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, Scout encounters a series of conflicts with her first-grade teacher Miss Caroline Fisher, a woman who is also new to Maycomb.  What's particularly interesting is that Scout does not truly do anything wrong in this chapter per say; she simply does things wrong in the eyes of her teacher. Miss Fisher particularly judges Scout for appearing to be smarter than the teacher and responding in a flippant voice. As we are limited in space, below are a few ideas to help get you started.

Scout first offends her teacher by showing she can read the entire alphabet and easily read from My First Reader and The Mobile Register. In her teacher's eyes, Miss Fisher is the one who should be teaching Scout how to read, no one else. In response to Scout's reading abilities, Miss Fisher insists that Scout tell her father "not to teach [her] any more" so that Miss Fisher can "undo the damage--" (Ch. 2). However, though Scout's response about being swapped at birth is flippant, Scout's response is fairly honest--Scout taught herself to read, and Miss Fisher should be rejoicing in Scout's brilliance, not feeling her talents as a teacher are being insulted merely because Scout is more intelligent than Miss Fisher.

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sarakap3's profile pic

sarakap3 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Scout makes it clear that she has been taught to read, which bothers Miss Caroline because she would like to be able to teach the children to read using her method of teaching. Also, she tries to explain to Miss Caroline that she should not offer Walter Cunningham money for lunch because Walter will not take it - this is because the Cunninghams refuse to take something that they cannot repay. This was a mistake because Miss Caroline feels undermined, when really Scout was just trying to be helpful. Soon after, Scout rubs Walter's nose in the dirt for getting her into trouble with the teacher. This is what prompts Jem to ask Walter to lunch and we get to see how the Cunninghams are different from the Finchs.

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