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Foreign TA Meeting (Guest Post)

I have been teaching every Thursday at three and have been unable to attend TA meetings. One of my office mates, Roey Gilberg, has taken the Quintessential Meeting Minutes, however, and it seems that I’ve been missing some epic business. So here goes…(btw, I have permission by the author…)

“The events chronicled herein transpired on the afternoon of May the 20th, in the year 2010 A.D. of the Gregorian calendar. This document may not be reproduced or redistributed without the expressed written consent of United International College.

Copyright Sir Roey Gilberg, M.D., Ph.D., Juris Doctor, Esq. All rights reserved. Violations are punishable by guillotine, firing squad or 25 uninterrupted hours entertaining GIR Final Year Projects in the Writing Resource Center.

Inquiries shall be directed to the author, who will respond if he sees fit. Further transcription services are available at an extravagant fee. Payment shall be conferred in oxen (although other livestock may be acceptable with a surcharge).

It was a warm afternoon. Outside, students meandered hither and yon amidst the sultry sub-tropical air, entranced by the wonder and euphoria of academia. Or was the apparent enchantment a product of something entirely different? Something hitherto unbeknownst to us? Something sinister? Were they merely enraptured by the thought of the evening’s impending session of World of Warcraft? We may never know. As these and other mysteries were pondered, we, the benevolent educators, settled into the pleasant, climate-controlled environs of C404. Pen and notebook at the ready, I braced myself for the task at hand. That’s right – it was I who was to take the minutes. I was the most important person in the room. God help us all. And so it began…

15:02 – The meeting commences.

15:03 – Zander is graciously thanked for his dictation of the minutes of two weeks prior.

15:04 – A requiem is offered for the excursion that was not to be – Mysterious Island. The notion is laid to rest once and for all. Students were heard to have claimed the aforementioned destination is “lame”.

15:05 – An array of suggestions for future outings is offered, ranging from the uncreative (a bar) to the unlikely (Cirque Du Soleil).

15:05 – It is asserted that consumption of alcohol whilst Go-Karting is not only acceptable, but encouraged.

15:07 – The suggestion of an island excursion quickly gains steam. Zoie is implored to research package deals at Dong’ao and other such islands, a task she grudgingly accepts.

15:08 – Reminder of next Wednesday’s English club party. It shall get crazy up in there.

15:09 – Those who failed to submit any materials to Tonie for the English working paper offer a variety of pathetic excuses. Those of us on the other end of the competency spectrum simply shake our heads in dismay. It is decided that Lauren shall ghostwrite a group offering, to be co-signed by the rest of the riffraff.

15:11 – All are urged to attend this Saturday’s TESL graduation party. It shall be held at nineteen hundred hours, and there will be food and beverages available.

15:13 – Chris, Zander, Andy, Michelle and Megan LC are reminded of their commitment to the May 28th cultural lectures. Said pentad seems to be in a state of disarray and confusion as to how to proceed, the blame for which is placed on Chris (the coordinator of the lectures).

15:15 – If you would like a reference letter from Chairman Dave, you must write it yourself. Then you may send it to him so that he can modify it to his content.

15:16 – The notion that it is uncomfortably hot is put forth. All concur.

I paused here. I was becoming fatigued; my wrist was limp. Would I be able to carry on? Would I be able to finish what I started? It was all starting to feel futile. The casual murmur of the meeting was melting into an incomprehensible kaleidoscope of bizarre noises in my weary mind. I started to feel faint. Did someone spike my milk tea at lunch? But I don’t drink milk tea. None of it made sense. But I had to fight through. I was the only minutes-taker. There was no contingency plan. If I surrendered here, the entire meeting would disappear from the annals of history, like a fart in the wind. Channeling my innermost strength, I put the pen to the paper, zeroed in on the words floating around me, and carried on with a flourish.

15:17 – An extended conversation concerning end-of-year logistics transpires. The relevant portions can be summarized as such:

· Goodman Coomes explains the significance of the termination form, for those who are leaving before the end of their contract and would like a cash advance on their last paycheck. The form shall be submitted to Echo once it has been completed and you have moved out of your dormitory.

· It is reiterated that it may be desirable to formally close your bank account before you leave, as the IRS tends to cast suspicion upon offshore accounts.

· If you want to take all your money home, wire transfers from a bank are free of charge. If you want to exchange your money at the bank, you may do so up to 500 USD per day. There is no limit on bank-facilitated exchanges if you have a Chinese national assist you.

15:24 – Lest anyone make any fun plans on the afternoon of June 2nd, all must attend the invigilator’s meeting – even if you were present at the prior semester’s.

End of meeting.

And thus concluded the most daunting ordeal I had ever experienced in this mortal coil. All that was left to do was to type up my notes and send them out. Would anyone read them? Would anyone care? It was not my place to ask such questions. The role of the minutes-taker is not for the cerebral, not for those prone to probing the realm of the metaphysical and the existential. It is a job that must be done, and I did it. I could go to sleep that night with peace of mind, knowing that the meeting was now recorded for all posterity.


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