An Unexpected Path

By Sonia Nguyen and Gordon Zhu


Working for the entirety of his career in the media arts industry, which has taken him all over the U.S., Mr. Machtay has done a wide variety of jobs, including working as a film creator for the US government (with secret security clearance), creating study guide films for a psychology class, and being a supervisor of web designers for various dot-com companies. However, through all the different jobs he’s held, Mr. Machtay never settled down in any one of them until he became a teacher.

After completing film school at the University of Southern California, Mr. Machtay noticed a bulletin about job offers from the government. Being in Media Arts, he sprang upon the opportunity to put his skills to the test. His responsibilities were creating military training films for the government in the China Lake Naval Weapon center, located in the Mojave Desert.

Following that, he became a media director for a group of psychiatrists and psychologists located in New York. They wanted someone to produce media, so they had Mr. Machtay coordinate written and video materials.

Afterwards, he created websites for multiple dot-com companies, but after the dot-com bubble bursted, he worked independently for clients to build websites and decided to also become a substitute teacher.

On the first day of being a substitute on September 11, 2001, the teacher Mr. Machtay was substituting for never returned from her leave, which led him to become a permanent teacher. “Throughout my life, I’ve never stayed in any one job for more than three years. By the end of three years, I would be restless and want to move on. But teaching, I’ve never gotten so much joy and satisfaction out of anything else I had done”, said Mr. Machtay. He adds, “In teaching, it’s all about communication. Media arts is also about communication.”

Mr. Machtay has now been a teacher for over 14 years and plans on teaching for another 15 years, because teaching is a passion in which he truly dedicates himself to.

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