ALI Instructor Profile – Ginger Vertican

Ginger VerticanDrawing on her childhood when she performed in theater, Ginger Vertican always tries to be at her best when teaching at SDSU’s American Language Institute.

“I love what I’m doing,” she said. “In class, I am communicative with my face and body language. I find that if I do it well, students love it. I need to bring the best of myself so I can get the best out of my students.”

As a youth, Vertican brought her best to the theater. From fourth grade through high school, she performed in many local school plays and did dramatic monologues throughout California.

“My parents were both teachers,” she said. “They noticed I had a flair to inspire people. Theater was a natural fit.”

During her theater days, she often got to pick the character she portrayed. Because of her love for flying, she once played the part of Amelia Earhart. The best role of her life was playing Helen Keller, she added.

After graduating from high school in Lake Arrowhead, she went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Liberty University in Virginia. From there, she received her master’s degree in linguistics from the private Lynchburg College of Virginia.

Vertican had a life-changing experience when she moved to Sendai, Japan after college. “That was the highlight of my life,” she said. “Their culture is wonderful. Even the gigantic cities are clean and efficient. I loved my lifestyle; it was so healthy. I rode my bicycle everywhere and it was always safe.”

During the summers, she volunteered to teach underprivileged students from elementary school through college in such countries as Kazakhstan, South Korea, Thailand, and Spain. In the summer of 2010, while staying with family in Lake Arrowhead, she came down to San Diego to visit a friend who taught for the ALI. Vertican applied for a job administering tests and was hired on to the ALI staff that fall.

She has been a fixture ever since, teaching English for Academic Purposes (EAP), International Business English (IBE), and a foundational class for students who come to the ALI with limited – if any – experience speaking English.

“What I like most about teaching international students is that there’s so much life, just like an ocean with so many different fish swimming around,” she said. “There are so many countries, beliefs, and experiences to share. I love hearing their experiences and sharing mine.”

Vertican’s experiences with her students extend beyond the classroom. She said they’re often shocked when they see her away from class, working out at SDSU’s gym, shopping at the mall, or riding her bike along the beach. They may even see her one day on a video blog, as she would like to show what is unique about America to her students.

No matter what she does, there is nothing like teaching at the ALI.

“I love the people I work with,” she said. “I’ve never had better bosses and co-workers in the world.”