That’s Not a Word

I’ve decided to stay away from blogging about the stupid and/or crazy stuff that my students do.  In some ways it’s the same reason I don’t blog about my children: it’s the equivalent of “cute baby” pictures in the newspaper (too easy), and I wouldn’t want either my students or my children ever to see me making fun of them (no matter how benignly).

Which is too bad, since that rules out most of the funny stuff in my life for blogging.  Teaching here is like living in the Mos Eisley Cantina sometimes: where the freak show never ends.

But the blog is called Teaching Boys Badly, and there is an anonymous and generic amusement I feel I can share in good conscience.  My students routinely expose me to some of the most insane spelling errors imaginable.

I don’t mean simple stuff like letter reversal.  That’s a given.  Spelling as a skill is simply deplorable among almost all of my students, many of whom have not been raised on weekly spelling tests and don’t read.  So there’s always the i-before-e errors or the bizarre vowel mistakes.  Some non-words, while pedestrian and obvious in their errors, are still pretty funny: “soldier” turns into all manner of insanity for some reason, my favorite being solidor.

But when I mean insane spelling, I mean non-words where you can’t immediately figure out what they mean even in context.  I’ve been dealing with it for so long that I usually don’t have any problem.  I just roll my eyes.  But here’s a list of some truly epic ones from recent months.  My only regret is that I have not kept a record from all my teaching years.  So do I vow, from this day forth.





magnifide (this one is not epic, but something about the simple letter reversal makes me giggle more than usual–like bonafide, maybe)






See if you can guess all these.  And no, that last word is not supposed to be someone who employs terror as a tactic to achieve socio-political ends.

Done laughing?  Here’s the translation:











(King David saw Bathsheba bathing while walking on his terrorist–a true lol while grading on the train)

Teachers, please make your children take a spelling test on 10 words every Friday until they graduate.  Parents, please take away phones and turn off TVs so that children are compelled to read books.

Maybe I’ll turn this into a permanent page on the site.


6 thoughts on “That’s Not a Word

  1. I know a middle-schooler who pronounces “neighboring” about like that spelling looks, so perhaps the student was just sounding it out 🙂


  2. Going to confess that we’ve dropped spelling here as a formal subject, but also that I’ve never seen errors of this magnitude creep into the kids’ writing. If they had, it would be back to the lists for us.


    1. Your children read books and don’t, I assume, waste their lives playing app-games on their phones. We proved like 40 years ago that TV rots brains; then we decided to shrink them down to hand-held size and give one to every child in the country. Head–>Desk.


      1. My children don’t have phones, unlike everyone else in drama club at the parochial school, as I understand it. Tough luck! It’s hard enough keeping them off Netflix. But yes, reading. 8th grader had to read Medea today, on Mother’s whim, because Mother is mean.


      2. Your savagery will be the salvation of their literacy.

        I should have a post on my 11th grade reading list up in a few days. And maybe a review of a high school musical.


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