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."
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.