like being reunited with an old lover.

Today I got to drive up to the University of Utah to take an astonishingly simple education test* that will render me "highly qualified" to teach English Literature (according to No Child Left Behind). Did you know you don't even have to have any sort of English experience to teach English? Not even a minor? Nope. All you have to do is take the test. (Mind you I think this is wrong, and I at least did minor in English).

Anyway, despite the test, I was very happy to see my beloved University of Utah again. I love the U. I got a hell of an education there, and my time there was one of my happiest. I learned not only about the history and literature of the world, but a lot about myself as well. And I met my spouse there, so not too bad.

A few months ago, I had an encounter with a very snotty relative who kept mentioning how her child went to a college with classrooms "that look like a CEO's boardroom, unlike the buildings at the U, which are basically falling apart." At the time, I was in my second semester at Westminster, taking classes in very fancy buildings, and not learning nearly as much, but I didn't say anything. Although should the incident be repeated, I will have no problem mentioning that any school with facilities good enough for Mario R. Capecchi are probably good enough for me.

After slaughtering the English Praxis Test, I took a few minutes to wander around the campus, feeling all nostalgic and lovesick, even calling Dan to tell him I was cheating on him with a University, and that I was walking past the building where I took Gothic Literarture. Remember that? No? How could you...

Then I left my beloved campus and headed off to my fake job at the restaurant. But not before realizing one thing: I need to be in a classroom again. I don't care if I'm teaching 7th graders Utah History, or going back to school to turn that English minor into a real degree, I need to go back to school.

The U taught me to love learning, and the old cliche is true: You never forget your first love.

* I'm not kidding you. A lot of questions contained passages from books most people read in High School, and most of the passages either directly referenced the book's title or author, and then asked the test-taker to identify the book. One passage/question section even used this extremely popular passage from an American Literature classic:

"His parents were shiftless and unsuccessful farm people--his imagination had never really accepted them as his parents at all. The truth was that Jay Gatsby of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God... and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end."

is it

a. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
b. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
c. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
d. None of the above.

Even if you aren't an English person, I bet you can figure out the answer. Hmmmmm. And yes, that is a direct question from the test.


JustMe said...

Hey - I knew the answer. Do you think I could get a job teaching English in Utah. If I did, could I teach them "southern" such as:

Hey y'all
fixing to
bless your heart (and the various proper ways to use it)
Sweetie / sugar / hon /darling
Hop in the back, we're going up to the big house
I need me some boiled peanuts

stewbert said...

I didn't even finish college. Maybe I should go take that test ... ;)

Michemily said...

Wow, I want to take this test. How/where do I sign up, and how much does it cost?

amanda said...

I love the U... I'm glad they spend their money on amazing programs and professors instead of constantly updating perfectly functional 1970's buildings.

Also, I have no idea how you feel about charter schools, but I've noticed on craigslist that some are hiring teachers.

Drees009 said...

I knew it would be from Great Gatsby before I even read the clue. Wow!

Mrs. Clark said...

What? Someone thinks the U is in bad shape? They ought to see the College of William and Mary. What crummy, neglected grounds. Obscene (and I mean really obscene) graffiti on desks. Passing off the History of Rock and Roll as a legitimate history requirement. And it's supposed to be one of the best schools in the country.

And, dear, may I delicately ask you to use a perfectly good verb, refer, instead of making the word reference into a verb? It is one of my pet peeves!

Stephanie said...

and i will lovingly deny your request, since it is a stylistic difference and not a grammatical error.

reference can be used as a verb, meaning "to refer to."

gurrbonzo said...


Oliver Twist??

(puzzled face).

Just kidding. This explains a lot about some of my former English teachers. I want to take tests like that instead of the damn bar.

amanda said...

man... i hope grammar nazis don't start commenting on my blog. i'm not horrible, but i'm no english teacher.

Mrs. Clark said...

Hey, I stick by my old Oxford English Dictionary. And I realize I am spitting into the wind with a lot of the modern stylistic noun-verbs. Touche!

The Boob Nazi said...

I hope my Praxis questions are that easy!!!!

The Red Pen said...

Every time I have to go anywhere near the U campus, I get jealous of the people there and I feel like the U is cheating on me with them. Even though I'm the one that left the relationship. I am thinking of getting back together.

If they will take me.