ALI Instructor Profile – Theresa Perales

Theresa Perales

Theresa Perales

Theresa Perales, an instructor at SDSU’s American Language Institute (ALI), is always on the move.

“I like to stay active,” she said. “I am constantly doing something.”

She runs up to 10 marathons or half-marathons annually and works out every day whether it be running, yoga, spinning, you name it.

“It’s just who I am at this point,” Perales said. “Whether or not I got enough sleep or am tired, I am out the door running or doing yoga. It’s like how we all just eat or breathe. I just do.

“I love running. Once I get out there, I get a running high. There is no coordination involved. I am only competing against myself.”

When it comes to running, it all goes back to when she was a student at SDSU several years ago. She cheered on friends one day at the yearly Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego then said to herself it was time to do the same.

Ironically, Perales was not into athletics while she attended University of San Diego High School (now Cathedral Catholic.) She focused solely on academics, taking advanced classes in preparation for college.

Perales went to SDSU, earning both undergraduate and master’s degrees in Spanish. While attending her master’s program, she went to the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon to cheer on friends and had her life turned around from exclusively focusing on academics to including a multitude of athletic adventures.

Raised by her grandparents, she was also adventuresome while growing up. Her grandparents loved to hop in the RV and take summer trips to such places as the Great Lakes region, Ohio, and Buffalo, N.Y.

The travel bug stayed with Perales in college as she twice participated in study abroad programs to Costa Rica. She took her boyfriend (now fiancé) on the second trip, hoping to show him a place where they may someday retire.

During her time at SDSU, she enrolled in ALI’s TESL/TEFL Certificate program that prepares novice instructors to successfully live and teach English overseas. She became a facilitator (teacher’s aide equivalent) at ALI in 2008 and has been teaching since.

Perales currently teaches in the EAP (English for Academic Purposes), Intensive English for Communication (IEC), and TESL/TEFL Certificate programs. This summer, she is also working as the Fulbright pre-academic program coordinator for an exclusive group that comes to SDSU in August. The three-week Fulbright training program through ALI is designed for students from countries other than the U.S., and is formatted to introduce them to American culture, university standards, and fair practices.

Working with international students is one of the main reasons Perales enjoys the ALI, which is located close to main campus. She welcomes being able to take her students across the street to meet native-English speakers.

“I like the students first and foremost,” she said. “I love their diversity. Working at the ALI, I have the opportunity to grow in so many different ways.”

Perales and her fiancé, both fans of the San Diego Padres and Chargers, are about to grow in another way as they have become first-time homebuyers. They are do-it-yourselfers when it comes to home improvement projects and working on their cars.

She had a Chargers key chain at the old residence but realizes the team could soon be headed to Los Angeles.

“I don’t want them to leave,” she said. “If they do, I don’t want to be stuck with that key chain.”

Unlike the Chargers, she has no plans of leaving her current employment location any time soon.