lessons from 5th grade


My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Lee, was one of my best teachers ever. He held some competitions for the school. One competition involved math. Specifically, multiplication. We would flip over a sheet of multiplication problems, and read off the answers as fast as we could. He would time how long it took -- I think we were disqualified if we missed any. Anyway, I broke the school record in this competition, and I was very proud of it.

Since then, I happen to remember the multiplication table for numbers less than 12, but I've decided that using a calculator is better for this sort of math. And I've felt justified in thinking this, as opposed to feeling sour grapes, because I was the best in my school at memorizing math, so nobody could tell me I hated it because I sucked at it.


My 5th grade teacher, Mr. Lee, ran a different sort of competition as well. Running. He lined everyone in my class up, and we all ran a short distance (maybe 30 feet?). I ran my hardest, and I really felt like I was going fast.. but I came in last.

I learned that I could feel like I was doing something well, but still suck at it.

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