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This year, I really wanted to get into the spirit of Halloween. I only do this for all of my international students, of course. So, I decided to put together a really scary costume that I could also wear around campus without making people think I was a freshman. Or lonely. Or a fantasy reader.

So, I turned my hat backwards, put on a polo shirt, jeans, and a fake press badge for Jimmy “Pop” A. Razzo, staff photographer for the National Reporter. I grabbed my new camera, the Canon 40D, set it to high speed burst mode (6.5 frames/second), put a flash on (set to the lowest level for the fastest recycling time and lowest battery consumption), and set out to terrorize the campus.

Ok, mostly, I just terrorized my fellow teachers and a few students. And a random guy dressed as a Lego man.

Seriously.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the photographic evidence to prove it (except that my badge is flipped around backwards):

I can’t tell you how many times someone asked me if there was any film in the camera. I’d just shake my head in a reassuring way and say no. Then, when they relaxed a bit, I pointed out that it was digital and unloaded the Canon at them.

At the end of the day, I had over 1200 images, 8 exhausted (rechargeable) AA batteries, and a lot more enemies.

Oh, and a video:

I think many people would agree: definitely a scary costume.

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life lessons

I received an email from one of my students today:

Dear Rik,

I’m so sorry I was absent today, I got acute gastroenteritis last night. I’m not gonna cook by myself anymore.

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Finally, I hope you can imagine Starbucks how it looks from inside. If you want to hang out with your friends, wife, girlfriend, and boyfriend you have to try this place.

From a student’s paper (emphasis added) describing an interesting location. I think he may not have realized quite the possibly violent entourage he was inadvertently assembling for a trip to get some joe.

The lesson for English language learners: never organize a trip for your wife and your girlfriend and your boyfriend at the same time. It just gets a bit awkward.

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On a recent vocabulary test:

Use the word “reserved” in a sentence.

 In our country, it is a good manner for girls to be reserved.

Uhhhh, am I the only one worried about those kinds of manners?

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the light of knowledge

Taken in one of my classrooms from last semester, just before class started.

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Carpool Buddy: If they tell me, “I didn’t do it,” I’m fine, red X, we’re done. No big deal.

Me: No kidding.

CB: Just don’t give me none of this “My latina friend Jeff is channeling my dead uncle.”

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A narrative work in the cutting-edge medium of listserv* emails. The names are just names, nothing more.

April 24, 2007 4:39 p.m.

[ELPINSTRUCTORS] Teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

Please track this student’s exact attendance from tomorrow morning until
the end of the semester. Don’t have a heart attack when he walks in
tomorrow!!

Fran (the assistant director)

April 26, 2007, 8:37 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

Dear people,

(Rik and I debated the salutation!)

We really need to to get new staff pictures! Therefore!!!! WE will do
staff pictures on next Wednesday at 12:30 so be spiffy!

We will do a group shot of everyone and then individual shots. You can
also write a short bio to put by your picture. I will not be having my
dog in m y picture as she died 4 years ago!

Be beautiful!

Thanks,

Jane (the director)

April 26, 2007, 10:02 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

Exactly what will happen to these pictures??? Will they be posted
somewhere? facebook? youtube? the hallways??????? AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I remain, as ever,

Photogenically challenged,
Georgia

April 26, 2007, 10:54 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

Youtube-now there is a great idea-LOL

April 26, 2007, 10:57 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

I’m with Georgia! Me too! Good questions!
Maria

April 26, 2007, 11:07 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

I suppose that, since I’m clearly incriminated by the original email, I should probably speak up and clarify what this is all about.

If you’ve never seen the ELP staff pictures page, doing so now would be enlightening: here’s the link. As you can see from the group shot, there are at least two people that no longer work with the department and one that’s no longer an instructor. Scrolling down, you’ll find a toddler who’s now almost a teenager, a young girl who’s now a college student, and dog that passed on over 4 years ago, and no pictures of a lot of us (there are currently about 18 instructors in our department, two counselors, and the boss, not to mention all the administrative staff).

It’s clearly time for an update.

So, the pictures that we take next week will be posted on the department pages so that students can come find our smiling faces before they show up in our classrooms (and so that people stop asking Jane about her dead dog).

And I suppose, in the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that, yes, I am currently trying to become the next viral video star on YouTube, and your portraits will be lovingly used to help me further that goal. I hope that’s okay with everyone.

rik

P.S. I also hope you realize that that last bit about YouTube is completely fabricated in the interest of humor. I will actually be posting these on ratemycoworker.com.

P.P.S. =]

April 26, 2007, 11:13 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

Comrades,

Let’s be brave! We can walk all through Spain and into Portugal#, but
cannot have our pictures taken? And Georgia, you cannot wear you
usual white shirt because you are sure to completely outdazzle us! I’m
not sure outdazzle is a word, but you know what I mean. And I promise
not to wear one of my neon outfits and look like a tropical plant!

Love,

Parvati

April 26, 2007, 11:15 a.m.

Re: [ELPINSTRUCTORS] teachers of Abdullah Al Mohammad

And by the way, what does our taking pictures have anything to do with
Abdullah Al Mohammad?

Parvati

*A listserv is an email address that redistributes any email it receives to a specific list of people. For example, all the instructors in our department are on one list, all the staff on another. So, if I want to send some piece of information to all the instructors, I simply send it to the instructors listserv, and then it gets passed on to everyone. [back]

#This refers to a group of instructors who formed a sort of exercise support group. For every 15 minutes of exercise they did, or for every mile they actually walked, jogged, biked, etc., their group “moves” 1 mile along a pre-determined route. In this case, our department’s trekkers chose to follow the pilgramage route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. [back]

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