What does Scout hate about school in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Although Scout

... never looked forward more to anything in my life,

she soon found that school was not everything she had hoped it would be. Jem had warned his sister that "school's different," and Scout soon found out the hard way that her brother was right. Her inexperienced first grade teacher, Miss Caroline, seemed to think that Scout's advanced reading ability was a bad thing, and she ordered Scout to stop reading with Atticus, since "your father does not know how to teach." Miss Caroline soon "spanked" Scout with a ruler and sent her to stand in the corner. As Scout left for lunch, she saw her teacher

... sink down into her chair and bury her head in her arms. Had her conduct been more friendly toward me, I would have felt sorry for her. She was a pretty little thing.

Scout hated the stories read by Miss Caroline, who didn't recognize that her students "were immune to imaginative literature." She was "bored" with the new teaching regimen that Jem incorrectly called the "Dewey Decimal System"; she hated that Miss Caroline paid no attention to her well-intentioned explanation about why Walter Cunningham had no lunch money; she hated Calpurnia for having taught her to write cursive; she hated how an "endless Project... slowly turned into a Unit"; and she hated how

... as I inched sluggishly along the treadmill of the Maycomb County school system, I could not help receiving the impression that I was being cheated out of something. 

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Scout is a very advanced student when compared to her peers. She is already able to read, and she encounters some problems with Miss Caroline on the very first day of school as a result. Scout discusses her problems with Atticus when she comes home, and he teaches her about compromise.


Scout's naivete also gets her in trouble with Miss Caroline. If you remember, Scout attempts to "explain" the Cunninghams to Miss Caroline on the first day of school. Miss Caroline reprimands Scout, and she fights Walter on the playground.

Go back to Chapter 2 for additional details about Scout's school experience.

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