I have a lot of moments while doing this job where I step back and think about how I knew so little of the hard work my teachers did. This past week, midterm comments were due, so I wrote a considerable amount for all 36 of my students while trying to keep up with planning class, grading, supervising co-curriculars and being worken up at 1:30 am by a pulled fire alarm. I was absolutely exhausted last week.

For one of my buddies in the class, a senior boy who also lives on my hallway, I wrote in his comment that he was a “goofball” because, well, he is! He calls me Mr. B, sometimes does this strange dance when he sees me, and I’m holding one of his homework assignments right now that has the title Physics with two little hearts drawn around it. Classic goofball.

I showed him his comment, and he didn’t know what the word goofball meant, so went to his room and looked it up online. Most definitions are something like “A foolish, incompetent, or stupid person,” and the thesaurus gives a slew of wonderful synonyms:

ass, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, buffoon, dimwit, dolt, donkey, dope, dork, drip*, dullard, dunderhead, fool, goof, goof ball, half-wit, idiot, ignoramus, imbecile, jerk, knucklehead, lame-brain, lightweight, moron, nerd*, nincompoop, ninny, nitwit, numskull, oaf, pinhead, scatterbrain, schnook, simpleton, twit. –> Maybe I’ll stop describing myself as a goofball…

Needless to say he was upset at me. Even after I explained that I really think the thesaurus is off on this one and I was NOT trying to say he is stupid (okay, sure I was calling him goofy though), THEN he told me that his parents’ English isn’t good, and they will probably just look up the word online and see all of that stuff. Phew. Okay. True.

I think we finally reached an understanding, which will probably include an email to his parents and maybe a pity college recommendation, so the issue’s resolved. But who would have thought that calling someone a goofball could cause such a ruckus?

Posted on October 12, 2009, in Living Abroad, Teacher Moments, Teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Oh Bowman! You are such a goofball!! HA!

  2. Who knew? I thought “goofball” was a pretty positive thing. “Oddball” and “goofy” seem to be fine.

  3., bowman,!

    you could have asked your for-RAIN friend next door.



  1. Pingback: Mohammad Mix-Up « Bowman in Arabia

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