So Tim Torkildson was hired to do social media for the Nomen Global Language Center, a school that serves primarily people learning English as a foreign language. Part of his job was writing the school’s language blog. He did a post about homophones, and was fired.
Torkildson’s boss, Clarke Woodger, who owns the school, called him in and fired him.
According to the Salt Lake Tribune:
When the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.
As Torkildson tells it, Woodger said he could not trust him and that the blog about homophones was the last straw.
“Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,” Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page.
I have to ask, how ignorant does someone have to be to think homophones have anything at all to do with homosexuality? And how ignorant about language can you be and still own a language school? I think the answer to both questions is, pretty darned ignorant.
Torkildson’s account includes some eyebrow-raising quotes of Woodger claiming not to know what homophones were, claiming that they don’t teach that kind of “advanced” language study to their English language students, and worrying that the post would associate the school with homosexuality for reasons uknown to this writer.
So the difference between “there” and “their,” or “to,” “too” and “two” is an advanced concept? Umm, sure. ‘Cause I totally didn’t get that in first grade. Since a lot of simple, basic words are homophones, I would expect this to be taught to foreign students very early in their English studies, because it’s going to be darned confusing if it’s not explained.
About the only positive thing I can say here is that this isn’t a public school — they get enough bad press, and usually deserve it. But the private side apparently isn’t immune to idiocy either.
Hopefully Mr. Torkildson will find another job soon, working for someone who has a functional brain. Best of luck, Mr. Torkildson.