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Baby Showers and Beer Bottles

July 22, 2013
These are the types of photos I post on Instagram. My cat. #Harrythecat and #fattastic, if you will.

These are the types of photos I post on Instagram. #Harrythecat

My Instagram buzzes with snapshots of my old students in New Orleans. I have about 8 previous students whose photos I see on a regular basis. Here is a quick run down of the types of photos they post:

  • Selfie* with duck lips**.
  • Sonogram photos.
  • Hot wings from Hooters.
  • Bottles of gin.
  • Joints, blunts, pipes, weed. Any sort of smoking contraption.
  • Grinning or otherwise posing with the middle finger flying high. Fully up. Fully.
  • Babies. Mostly theirs. Sometimes a little brother or sister or niece or nephew.
  • Post-shower selfie with shirt off. Middle finger up.
  • My male student and two girls with bangin’ booties in tiny thongs standing on a front porch together. One girl grips a beer bottle under her right butt cheek.
  • Old pictures of other students of mine who are awaiting trial in jail for 2nd degree murder with captions like “Free my brother!”
  • Baby shower pictures. Two old students of mine pose together, the girl is huge with child in a grass skirt and crop top, her belly written on with Sharpie. The baby shower was clearly Hawaiian themed with leis and straw hats. I had these kids in the 2011-12 school year in 8th grade. Babies having babies! (Six of my 8th grade girls from that school year either had babies already or have one — or a second one– on the way!)
  • Cryptic messages about friends they’ve lost and family members they’re mourning.
  • Pictures of girls in short shorts/crop tops and creepy notes from strangers about how hot they are.
This is duck face. Any my adorable cousin Gillian. And the look of confusion that I used to have for duck face and backwards peace signs before teaching high school. Ugh.

Semi-selfie and duck lips in action at my family reunion.

I feel dirty about peering into their lives, but I’m curious to see how they’re doing from a distance. Of course some I still talk to on a regular basis, about graduation plans or getting a job or books they’re reading or boys they’re dating or education they are or are not getting in New Orleans. A teacher probably never connects with a group of students in the way he or she connects with the first year’s students. I wouldn’t be friends with my kids on Facebook, but Instagram somehow feels less harmless, less friend-y and more voyeur-y, sneaking a peek into the day-to-day of a kid who you once knew.

*Selfie – image taken of yourself. Can include others, but is generally just you.
**Duck lips – exaggerated, pouted, non-smiling lips. Also, duck face.

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