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Alumni Stories: Jorge Pitti, ‘20, TESOL

Question: What was your focus in the program?

My focus was learning about TESOL and linguistics and applying it to teaching English as a foreign language.

Question: What has been your career experience since graduation?

When I came back to Panama, I got a job as an Elementary school English teacher. I taught English to 150 students from third grade in a public school in 2021. I also got a part-time job as a language instructor at UTP (Universidad Tecnológica de Panamá) language center.

Question: What is your current job?

In March 2022, I transferred to a high school and have taught English to students from 10th grade since then.

Question: How has ODU's MA in Applied Linguistics program helped in your career?

Since I teach English at a language center to adults, I have been able to explain to my students the lessons with more in-depth linguistics explanations since now I understand how English works at a syntactical, morphological, and phonetic level.

Question: Do you have any favorite memories from the program?

I really liked all the classes. I remember Dr. Anderson's classes. She was always so funny, and she had a very engaging way to teach sociolinguistics. I also remember Dr. Defibaugh and her Discourse Analysis class. We were always looking at the reasons why people say certain things. There was always an explanation to why people choose the words that they choose.

Question: What was your favorite thing about ODU's MA in Applied Linguistics Program?

My favorite thing about ODU's MA in Applied Linguistics was that I learned so much about English and also about linguistic features of other languages, but I also learned about the methods to teaching EFL, so in that way, I was learning the core content of linguistics, but I was also learning how to teach an EFL class, which at the end of the day, was what I was going to be doing the most since I knew that I would work as a teacher once I got back to Panama.

Question: Do you have any advice for grad students interested in applied linguistics, or for students who are currently in the program?

You are going to learn plenty of things, and sometimes, you might be overwhelmed with so much work to do, but once you graduate from this program, your mind will never think the same way. Once a linguist, always a linguist. Even though my current job deals more with TESOL, my mind is always analyzing people's speech unconsciously, and that is fun!

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