Why is Scout in trouble with the teacher the first day of school?

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ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout begins school ready to learn new and exciting things.  The first day however she runs up against a teacher who is not at all flexible, is new at her job, and just doesn't know how to handle this group of students.  The teacher writes the alphabet on the chalk board.  She calls on Scout to read the letters.  Scout tells the reader:

"as I read the alphabet a faint line appeared between her eyebrows, and after making me read ost of "My First Reader," and the stock-market qquotations from "The Mobile Register" aloud, she discovered that I was literate and looked at me with more than a faint distaste.  Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not t o teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading."

The second incident is when Scout jumps into a conversation that Miss Fisher is dealing with Walter.  Miss Fisher takes offense to what Scout is saying and smacks her hand. 

"Miss Caroline tells Jean Louise that she has had enough of her, spanks her hand with a ruler, and threatens the class. The conflict reaches a climax when the sixth-grade teacher comes in and personally reprimands the whole class because they are too noisy."


mrsbinkc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Basically, Scout is in trouble because she intimidates the teacher for two different reasons.  The first is that Scout already knows more than she is supposed to (at least according to Miss Fisher) because she can already read.  That seems to upset Miss Fisher because she, being a first year teacher, had assumed none of the kids would know how to read and she had planned on teaching them.  Now she doesn’t know what to do with Scout and probably hasn’t heard of differentiating instruction! The other reason that Scout is in trouble is that she, a child, knows more about the town and how to handle the students in class than the teacher, an adult, does.  Miss Fisher feels overwhelmed on her first day and takes it out on Scout.

jennifer-taubenheim eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Scout has been waiting for her entire life to start school, but it does not turn out the way that she expects it to. Her teacher is Miss Caroline Fisher. Miss Caroline is a new teacher and new to their town, and she is not thrilled that Scout already knows how to read and write.

At lunch time, Miss Caroline discovers that Walter Cunningham does not have the money for lunch, so she offers to lend it to him. Scout knows that Walter is poor and would never accept the money because he can’t afford to pay it back. Scout is punished for explaining this to Miss Caroline.

lesli93 | Student

scout gets in trouble because she knows too much.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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