Back when I was in fifth grade (about 1967-68), our elementary school decided to start having the teachers switch between rooms each afternoon for the fifth and sixth grades; each teacher would focus on one subject for each classroom for about 30 minutes. Basically it was their idea of getting us ready for junior high and the hourly class changes we would have then.
For our three fifth grade classes, Mrs. Wedel did vocal music, Mr. Hillyard taught history, and Miss Bowron was our Math teacher.
(Interesting tidbit on Mrs. Wedel — I found out many years later while working on my Mennonite ancestry that she and I are cousins twice removed… and her family pronounced their last name “way·dul,” not “wee·dul” like most others with that surname.)
One afternoon for history, Mr. Hillyard said we were just going to have an easy day and that we could set our history textbooks aside. He started by talking about the power of hearing and what it says about a person when they hear details others might not notice. He spent maybe a total of five minutes on that. Then, he quick-changed over to miscellaneous historical dates and things that happened.
All of a sudden, he asked, “When was the War of 1812?”
My hand shot up. I barely noticed that no one else raised their hands.
Mr. Hillyard called on me.
I answered, “1812.”
“Correct!” he said.
Mr. Hillyard then asked, “Who came up with Isaac Newton’s law of universal gravitation?”
I looked around the room, but seeing no other hands raised slowly put mine up. A few of my classmates looked at me.
Again Mr. Hillyard called on me.
I quietly answered, “Isaac Newton.”
“Yes, correct!” said Mr. Hillyard.
He went on to ask another question or two (that I don’t remember now). I would raise my hand, he would call on me, I answered.
I was becoming a little self-conscious with being the only person answering.
At this point, I was wondering why my classmates were not getting that these were trick questions!
I looked to my left where my best-friend, Barbara, was sitting. She was a straight-A student! Why was she not offering answers?! To my right was a neighbor, Vince, who was also smart, and also not raising his hand.
Vince whispered, “How do you know all these?!”
I shrugged and shook my head slightly.
Then Mr. Hillyard asked, “Where did the battle of San Juan Hill take place?”
I looked around surreptitiously. No hands raised.
Pretty sure I shrunk down somewhat.
Mr. Hillyard chuckled and said, “Diana, you know the answer, don’t you?”
I nodded and said meekly, “San Juan Hill.”
Again Mr. Hillyard’s “Correct!” rang out.
I heard a few of the others say, “Wowww!”
Mr. Hillyard laughed and then explained what he’d been doing. Everyone in the class laughed. I relaxed and laughed with them. I even received a few “Good job!” remarks from my classmates.
Diana received some extra credit for that day.