teaching mistake (?)

In a discussion of literacy, the question was asked, “People who can read and write are smarter than those who cannot. True or False?”  It brought to mind a story I heard from a priest, but it touched on NSFW topic/ issues.  I hesitated to tell the story, but once I said it might be inappropriate, the class encouraged me to tell it.

Afterward I reconsidered sharing the story in the future.  It didn’t inspire laughter, it risked making someone uncomfortable and it took up time that might have been better spent.  Then I had an epiphany.  I’d heard about it from a priest, and took the story as truth, but I tell students anyone can lie.  So I googled it and found that Snopes had addressed the story.  This  offers an object lesson in confirmation bias.  I believed the story to be truth while it worked with classes, and only after I decided it didn’t need to be part of my repertoire, did it occur to me to fact check.

If I share this story in the future, I may just give them this link.  I don’t know if I want to avoid the anecdote in an effort to be socially conservative, or use it to discuss levels of student comfort regarding questionable topics.  I find double entendres make the most memorable grammar examples.  The growing age discrepancy, the burgeoning “me too” movement and shifting demographics of the students I call for reassessing what had been effective discussions/ examples.  I can’t interpret silence as consent.  I don’t think avoiding all risk helps my teaching though.  I was so conservative my first 6-7 years here, that I do feel a few students mistrusted my reticence to share.

I also would like feedback on my first MLA lesson – and the need for  italics, quote marks.