Miss Caroline Fisher, fresh out of college and armed with new, progressive ideas about how to teach young children, made few friends on her first day of class. After she announced that she was from
"... North Alabama, from Winston County." The class murmured apprehensively...
since people from that area were considered "persons of no background." Miss Caroline was not impressed with Scout's reading ability, insulting Atticus and declaring that "your father does not know how to teach." She unknowingly embarrassed Walter Cunningham Jr., offering him money for lunch, and then "whipped" Scout with a ruler for trying to explain Walter's family's financial shortcomings. Next, she ordered Burris Ewell out of the classroom after "she screamed" at what must have been her first experience with head lice.
Miss Caroline was not necessarily guilty of being mean to her students, but she certainly knew little about the people of Maycomb or their simple and poverty-stricken lifestyles. Had she spent a little time to get to know the people and understand their ways, her first day might not have been so disastrous. As Scout left for lunch, she saw Miss Caroline
... 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.