Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is in a quandary. A rare incident occurred today, an incident which she has not encountered in most of her years of teaching. In fact, she cannot recall another such incident, though one has most likely reared its ugly head at some other point in her career.
It all started with Venus. Just a brief overview of Venus, in the textbook, comparing its size and atmosphere to Earth. A pupil raised his hand. Inquiring minds want to know, you see.
“Isn’t that where humans can most likely survive? On Venus’s moons?”
“Oh. Well. Do you think? Is it? I thought it was more likely on a moon of Jupiter. Europa, isn’t it? Where human life has the best resources to survive?”
“Oh, yeah. Europa. That’s it.”
“And Europa is not a moon of Venus. I’m pretty sure it’s Jupiter.”
“Yeah. I think so.”
Here’s the thing. Venus has no moons. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Not a single one. So why would a kid ask me if we could live on a moon of Venus? Especially a smart kid. There are two possibilities. The kid is smart in things other than the solar system. Or the kid is trying to catch me in a web of misinformation to make a fool of me. Let the record show that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has no trouble making a fool of herself on her own, without assistance from students.
What a quandary. I could shout, “Venus has no moons! What are you talking about?” Or even, “I don’t think Venus has any moons. Let’s look it up.” Either way, I am shooting down the efforts of a kid who asked, in front of the class, for further knowledge. Not that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a protector of special snowflakes and elusive unicorns. But she does not see a need to embarrass a pupil who is not acting the fool to draw attention to himself.
On the other hand, if a pupil is trying to see if Mrs. HM is a b-s-er, not really knowledgeable in her subject matter, she wants to prove that she is. Knowledgeable, that is. Not a b-s-er. Let the record show that this kid, and another good egg who sits nearby, had been cutting eyes at each other during the lesson. Nothing that was disruptful, nothing that was disrespectful. Something that might have been a private joke. Or a plot to entrap Mrs. HM in the web of misinformation!
So…Mrs. Hillbilly Mom tried to lead the question to Jupiter in a manner that was not overbearing, without ridiculing the asker.
I’m sure they were pranking me. But you can’t be too careful these days.