Host Ira Glass tells a story about how, when he was in seventh grade, he was over at his best friend's house and saw beer in the fridge. He'd only ever seen beer in fridges on TV; he didn't think it existed in real life.
There's a 200-person operation based out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas called the Center for Army Lessons Learned. Host Ira Glass speaks with Colonel Steve Mains, who runs the Center, and with Craig Hayes and Lynn Rolf, two men who answer soldiers' requests for information.
Ira speaks with Milt Hileman of the Center for Army Lessons Learned about the single most-requested publication they put out, Soldiers' Handbook: The First 100 Days: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures. It explains how to avoid getting killed in your first hundred days in Iraq, which is when a disproportionate number of U.S. casualties occur.
Ira says a few words about what he learned from working on a television show himself and about what it's like to hear your name mentioned casually by a fictional character on a prime time drama.
Host Ira Glass talks to Scott Shrake, who got hired for a job he was utterly unqualified for – as a German interpreter for visitors to Detroit. On his first assignment, Scott realized that not only couldn't he understand what the German tourists were saying, he didn't understand the English words he was supposed to translate.
Ira tells the story of two friends of his who were like superheroes. They had this incredible power to save someone.
Host Ira Glass talks to Jonathan Gold about the bully in high school who knocked Jonathan and his cello down the stairs one day as he was walking to history class—and why Jonathan felt a sudden surge of satisfaction about this almost three decades later.
Host Ira Glass talks to Adam Stein about the very real cat-and-mouse game between his friends and the vice principal of his high school that preoccupied them throughout their high school careers.
Kristy Kruger realized in college just how bad her high school education had been. She was always having to pretend she knew what the people around here were talking about when she didn't know.
When Ira heard that Cathy La Luz, the best public school teacher he'd met during all his years of education reporting, was considering leaving her job, he went to see her in her classroom.
Washington Irving Elementary School became a model of school reform in Chicago a decade ago. The school did it without adding a ton more money.
We continue with the story of Irving Elementary, and hear what's happened to make Cathy La Luz think about quitting. In just nine months, the reforms that had made the school a model began to unravel.
Colin Dunn had an A average as an eighth grader, and he was in a program for gifted kids. But he hated school.
The story of Colin's truancy continues. The whole thing was especially awkward for his dad, because he's a behavior specialist for 100 public schools in Oregon—including Colin's school.
It seems apples for the teacher is a bygone tradition. Host Ira Glass talks to Mindy, a first-grade teacher, about the rather racy gifts her students give these days at Christmas.
Host Ira Glass visits the Richard E. Byrd Community Academy, a public elementary school in Chicago in need of repair.
Host Ira Glass talks with a bunch of special ed students. By and large, they thought of themselves as regular kids—until each experienced a shocking moment of revelation when they discovered that they were not the same as other kids, and that the other kids already knew that...and had known for a long time.
A high school boy explains how prom is the culmination of his effort to get in with a cool group of people.
For a more typical view of prom night, we hear prom night at Chicago's Taft High School.
Host Ira Glass talks with Kayla Hernandez, a seventh-grader who likes to reminisce about when she was a child, back in fifth grade. She visits Room 211 in her school, where her fifth grade class met, and looks at her old books, thinks about what happened there.
Sylvia becomes the first person in her Mexican-American family to go away to college, at a predominantly white school in upstate New York.
Host Ira Glass talks with Bennett Miller and Matt Futterman about a campaign for student government that changed the way student elections were done in Mamaroneck High School back in 1985. Futterman, in the waning days of his campaign, tried a radical tactic: A TV ad.
More of Alexa Junge and how Moss Hart's autobiography changed her life. She followed his path, learned specific lessons, and had a vision of him that was absolutely clear—until she met his widow.
Writer Jack Hitt talks about his daughter Tarpeley's first day in her new school. It was her first "first day" of any kind.