Announcement to teachers: Young students in English 100 will not necessarily find funny the witty banter of Ira Glass and Sarah Vowell.
We're working on writing "Process Analysis" essays this week, and I found an old episode of This American Life that dealt with the theme of "How-To's." I listened to it over the weekend and thought it was terrific, figured it would be an intertaining diversion. More importantly, I wouldn't have to develop a full lesson plan.
Early in the episode, Ira is trying to teach Sarah how to drive a car. I knew I was doomed one minute in. One of my students, an intelligent and focused young scholar, squinted and looked at me very seriously. "I don't understand," she whispered. "Is it supposed to be funny?"
Well, if you have to ask...
Luckily, in the same program, Junot Diaz reads his "How to Date a Brown Girl (Black Girl, White Girl, or Halfie)” This went over much better and sparked some interesting discussion.
This was a good education in audience. The segment was designed to appeal largely to listeners of This American Life and NPR in general. Inside jokes aren't funny when you're not on the inside. Oh, and I am an old man. I must remember this. Live and learn. That's part of the fun of teaching.