Mpls native Tim Torkildson fired from Utah school for blogging about homophones

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Tim Torkildson photo via Facebook
Tim Torkildson was born in Minneapolis and lived here through his mid-20s, save for a stint working as a circus clown in Florida. (Seriously.) In fact, he even spent three semesters at the University of Minnesota.

After that, Torkildson bounced around, including stints in Thailand working both as a missionary and an English teacher. Back in the U.S., he got his teaching English as a foreign language certification, and earlier this year, that led to a job as a social media specialist and blogger with Nomen Global, a school in Provo, Utah that bills itself as "America's English Language School."

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But that came to an end earlier this month after Torkildson published a post on the school's blog about homophones.

No, not homophobes. Homophones. You know, these:

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(You can read the original post that landed Torkildson in hot water for yourself at the end of this piece, but suffice it to say he wrote about homophones in an academic, snark-less manner.)

A few days after his post was published, Torkildson was suddenly summoned into a meeting with his boss, Nomen owner Clarke Woodger.

Here's how Torkildson describes what happened next on his personal blog:
"I'm letting you go because I can't trust you" said Clarke Woodger, my boss and the owner of Nomen Global Language Center. "This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality."

I said nothing, stunned into silence.

"I had to look up the word" he continued, "because I didn't know what the hell you were talking about. We don't teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it's extremely inappropriate. Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I'll have your check ready."

I nodded, mute.

"Good. You've done a good job on most things, but you're just not reliable enough. I never have any idea what you're going to do next. I can't run my business that way. You'd probably make a great college professor, but since you don't have a degree you'll never get that kind of work. I would advise you to try something clerical, where you'll be closely supervised and have immediate goals at all times. That's the only kind of job you'll ever succeed at. I'll be happy to give you a good reference. Good-bye, and good luck."

He rose, shook my hand, and left the conference room where we had been sitting.

We touched based with Torkildson yesterday and asked if he had any idea the homophones post might cost him his job when he was putting it together.

(For more, click to page two.)


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