I posted a few weeks ago about how the key to teaching was developing a bag of tricks that would help you succeed in the classroom. Well, I think I have figured out another key: knowing random trivia. For example, when seeking different motivational sets in an English class, my recently-latent yet still-near-encyclopedic knowledge of the first ten years of The Simpsons comes in very handy (as does YouTube!), in addition to my memory of obscure cartoon plots from the 1990s (eg. Tiny Toons' "The Tell-tale Vacuum"). It is so helpful having those references, as well as random meaningless tidbits of information, that can help keep students interested, as well as make me seem really cool. Key to teaching number 2, folks.
On a related note, the debate going on in my circles over the past week concerns the relative inability of women to remember and quote pop culture like Simpsons or Seinfeld (there are, of course, exceptions) as compared to men. We can have a lot more at our figurative fingertips, whereas it seems that if women do remember quotations, it is from sources they have held dear and viewed again and again. Is this because women choose to invest more in "relationship" with such media, whereas men are just out for a quick fix? Is there some natural reason for this phenomenon, or is it a product of nurture? Food for thought...and comments!