The Failure of Third Grade Kim

On September 4, 2012 by Kim Wetter

This 3rd grader is also unimpressed with my attitude

I can pretty much come up for an excuse for anything in my life. Whatever it is, it’s not my fault. In fact, “Not my fault” is probably my most commonly used phrase (along with “What happened? I blacked out,” which I say during any occasion, especially not when drunk.). We have already heard my explanation for why I have terrible handwriting so let’s venture into more of why I am the way I am (read: I think I’m always right).

This started from a very early age. When I was in the third grade, I had just transferred schools. We were sitting outside having a science lesson when the teacher asked the class if anyone knew the best way to tell the temperature of something.

As a relatively new kid with no friends, I didn’t often contribute in class. I also thought the question was completely and totally ridiculous. I mean, everyone knows that you measure temperature with a thermometer. He couldn’t seriously be asking us this.

Several of us, myself included, raised our hands. The first kid was picked and exclaimed with confidence, “your hand!”

The teacher said no, but all of a sudden I was doubting myself. What if the teacher was asking which part of the body is the best estimate of temperature? The hands clearly aren’t, which I knew because sometimes when measuring my bath temperature, the water would be much hotter when I got in.

So, as I’m freaking out, wondering what the question was actually asking, I noticed that the teacher had called on me and was waiting for my answer. As the new kid, I really didn’t want to look stupid and if the other kid thought we were talking about parts of the body, obviously my answer was going to be “your feet.”

Now did THIS deserve to end up on What Not to Wear?

Wrong. Obviously wrong. The teacher told me I was wrong and then explained to the whole class what a thermometer was. I knew the right answer but an attempt to fit in left me feeling even more stupid. I had doubted myself.

I learned several things as a third grader with this experience. First, I was really smart. It was clear I was well beyond my classmates and I knew it from that moment on. Secondly, I was really stupid. I can’t believe I had gotten the answer wrong all because I followed the first kid. I got the answer wrong but it totally wasn’t my fault. I knew the answer.

So, as a third grader, I learned the valuable lesson of trusting myself. Sure, the kids might not like me very much. And sure, I only had one friend, who was obviously very important to me because I have no idea what his name is. But, I am smart enough to know what a god damn thermometer is. And isn’t that worth a lot?

(For another example on how I was a follower, there’s always the story of when I got nominated for What Not to Wear. During my secret interview, they asked me if I was funny as an attempt to cover up low self esteem. I know, it was a totally inappropriate question if I was just participating in someone’s thesis about malls. Seriously, how did I not know this was weird? Not important. My answer was that I had met these really cool kids in the eighth grade after not having friends for a year and a half. They were so cool and so disruptively funny in class, I just had to join in. Hence, no low self esteem. I was just a follower)

One Response to “The Failure of Third Grade Kim”

  • Ashley

    You were nominated for What Not to Wear? I’m guessing they didn’t air it? I love that show…sign me up, throw away my clothes, and spend thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe!

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