When you see Joel Ortiz walking around the American Language Institute (ALI), there is a very good chance he might have a camera or two in his hands, so you may not know that his background is in linguistics. As a student at SDSU, he earned two bachelor’s degrees (linguistics and Spanish linguistics) and one master’s in linguistics with an emphasis in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL).
Ortiz arrived at the ALI in 1996 when he started teaching Listening-D, Writing-A and Reading-D part-time. After three years, it was discovered that he was a multimedia lover and was asked to produce a few projects for the school. “I started helping with anything from video production to photography to helping teachers design creative handouts.”
After a few projects, the ALI director asked him if he could teach a class in multimedia. Ever since that day, he has produced hundreds of videos ranging from mock commercials to talk shows to weekly videos for the ALI Facebook page.
Oritz says, “One of the best aspects of my job is the balance – I get to teach ESL and create multimedia projects. I love both so much and the ALI has allowed me to do both for so many years.” Along with loving his job he also believes he is creating memories for the students and staff. “I get to photograph students and teachers, and this brings everyone together in the highlights videos that I produce for our graduation ceremonies – helping people preserve memories of their time at the ALI.”
Most importantly, Ortiz believes he gets the best of both worlds. “Since I am not much of a traveler, I think it’s awesome that I can teach students from around the world. I love to learn about their culture, and they love to learn about the U.S. and English,” he adds. He says that not only does he receive worldwide knowledge from his students, but he gets to pass on his knowledge to his students as well. He says, “It doesn’t get much better than that.”