Teacher fired for using word ‘homophone’ in blog post

Tom Torkildson.
Tim Torkildson

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

A teacher in a Utah school is no longer employed after being fired for using the word “homophone” in a blog post.

Tim Torkildson was a social media specialist at Nomen Global Center, in Provo, Utah, until last week, when he was accused of damaging the school’s reputation with the questionable blog post and fired. The entry was centered on homophones–words that sound alike but have different meanings.

However, school head Clark Woodger didn’t see it that way. He claims Torkildson made the post as part of a “gay agenda” he’s trying to pass at the school.

“I had to look up the word because I didn’t know what the hell (he was ) talking about,” Woodger said in a WTVM.com report. “We don’t teach this kind of advanced stuff to our students, and it’s extremely inappropriate. Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality. People may see the ‘homo’ side and think it has something to do with gay sex.”

Woodger wasn’t wasting any time firing Torkildson either. Immediately after Woodger saw the post July 24, the teacher was was being shuffled out the door.

“I’m letting you go because I can’t trust you,” Woodger said. “This blog about homophones was the last straw. Now Can you have your desk cleaned out by eleven this morning? I’ll have your check ready.”

Woodger also accused Torkildson of using his blog to go “off on tangents,” filling the space with offensive material. He also said Torkildson belongs in another field–any other field.

According to Torkildson’s blog, Woodger told him: “You probably make a great college professor. But, since you don’t have a degree you will never get that kind of work. I would advise to try something clerical, where you will be closely supervised and have immediate goals at all times.”

Meanwhile, Torkildson has been accommodating on his site. Among such entries about picking cherries, sewer smell and singing in church, Torkildson provides a definition of “homophone.”

“A homophone, in case you do not know, is a word that has a different meaning for each different spelling, but always sounds the same; such as ‘be’, ‘bee’, and ‘Bea’.” he wrote. “There are hundreds of these in the English language, and it is one of the first subjects tackled when teaching ESL. It is a subject that has been taught and discussed with absolutely no controversy for well over a hundred years.”

The original post about homophones has been removed. Torkildson said he took the entry down because of the controversy it caused at the school.

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