Photo of summer English camp in Korea

ONE JOURNEY LEADS TO ANOTHER

The journey to starting Premiere English ironically began with a journey. After graduating from college in 1995, I decided I wanted to have an experience completely the opposite of the womb-like environment I had become so accustomed to over the prior four years so I packed my bags and headed to South Korea to teach English. I remember getting off the plane in Taegu, South Korea thinking that I had landed in Mars. That taxi ride through the backroads of Taegu to my new home in a signature Korean highrise apartment building was quite mind blowing. Nothing looked remotely familiar to the life I had lived back in the U.S. I can still vividly remember my hogwan (private school) director, Mr. Park, unceremoniously depositing me at my new foreign residence and handing me my keys along with a little Korean Won to tide me over until my first paycheck. The first item of business was to walk down to the little supermarket on the corner and get some much needed supplies and food. I remember standing at the counter in front of the cashier not understanding any of the sounds that were coming out of her mouth. My only response was to sheepishly hold out a handful of money and have her pick out the proper amount. Graduation from college was supposed to be a rite of passage to being an adult and here I was back to feeling like an infant. Thankfully, things gradually got better; much better in fact. By the end of my almost five years in Korea, I had gone from being a novice ESL teacher at a private language institute, to being a program director at another, to working as an English professor at one of the most prestigious universities in Korea. In my free time, I was able to backpack extensively throughout Asia to places like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia and in turn met other travelers from all over the world. What began as a one year plan ended up being an almost five year odyssey. What innocently started out being an experience motivated by curiosity, ended up being an experience that transformed my view of life and the world.

Photo of summer ESL program in Houston

SIGNS AND SYMBOLS

As the above definition of teaching suggests, there is an historical relationship between "teach" and "signs and symbols." In the early period of its usage, to teach implied helping someone to interpret hidden meaning in a symbol or sign. My exposure to different languages and cultures as well as my experience teaching my own language, English, helped me to develop a deep appreciation for the meanings that can be unearthed by being willingly immersed in the rich traditions, people, and languages imbedded in other cultures. Perhaps more importantly, my experiences overseas revealed something that was hidden within me which is a deep curiosity and love for the profound diversity of perpective the broad spectrum of people in our world have to offer.

NEW CAREER PATH

I came back to the U.S. not realizing initially that this affinity was something I could build into a career. Eventually, someone asked me if I'd ever thought of starting my own business providing language services to companies and there was my "Ah ha!" moment. I don't know why it never dawned on me that I might start such a business in Photo of company owner an international cosmopolitan city like Houston but sometimes the most obvious things are hidden right in front of our noses. That was 2004 and I've loved every minute of running Premiere English. Over the years, I've discovered that there are many incredibly talented language teachers out there who possess a deep love for language and culture just like I do. Like me, every time they step into that classroom, it's like traveling to another country. I have been touched by the many incredible stories of courage told to me by my students over the years of how they left their countries to start a new life here or how learning English will give them an opportunity to have a better life back in their home country. Premiere English has been my opportunity to help our students uncover the hidden meaning behind our symbols; our language and culture here in the U.S. What's incredible is that despite getting up and making this journey for over 15 years, it never ceases to sate my soul in a profoundly satisfying way.
Image of Signature
Definition of teach