Christopher Jack (“CJ”) joined the Partnerships team at Polygence back in February 2022. Since joining the team, he’s often asked by students, parents, and college counselors, “How long have you been an educator?” The short answer? Over a decade! But his road to Polygence is a long and winding adventure that started back in 2008, and it was sparked by a job advertisement he saw on the internet:
After being laid off during the financial crash in 2008, I came across an ad to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) to students in South Korea. At the time, I had some experience teaching ESL to elementary school students on a volunteer basis while in college, and though I truly loved the experience, my dream was to teach ESL overseas. However, the idea of moving halfway across the world was, well, scary! Ultimately, I mustered the courage to respond to the ad and after a series of intense interviews, in October 2009, I boarded an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 and flew 8000 miles from Boston to Seoul to begin my teaching adventure!
My original goal was to teach in Seoul for 1 year and then come back to the U.S. However, after the first few weeks, I quickly realized that I loved living overseas and my passion was to help students succeed. 1 year quickly turned into 2, and 2 years quickly turned into 5. Over the course of those 5 years in Seoul, I helped countless students gain confidence in their English ability, many of whom went on to study at some of the most prestigious universities in the world. I also helped students improve their speaking skills to prepare for job interviews at companies like Samsung and Korean Airlines. Today I’m still friends with many of the students I taught a decade ago to read their first English language book. It’s still amazing to see their continued growth well after they stepped out of my classroom for the last time.
In 2014, I enrolled at The School for International Education (SIT) to pursue an MA in International Education. Midway through my degree program, I moved back to the U.S. and joined the Partnerships team at Shorelight. There I had the opportunity to work closely with college counselors to help their international students enroll at some of the best universities in the U.S. Although I missed teaching (i.e., My first love!), I loved working directly with college counselors to help their students find the right fit university. To this day, I still receive messages from students (and counselors) I helped over 5 years ago thanking me for the guidance I provided in the college admissions process!
12 years after I came across that ad to teach English in South Korea, I landed as a Partnerships Manager with the Polygence team. At Polygence, I’ve seen students build their confidence both personally and academically through our mentorship program. Additionally, Polygence students often use their mentorship experience as a springboard to get accepted to their dream university. However, what I love most is when students find that spark (college counselors know exactly what I mean!). After all, you never know what ignites a person’s passion. Sometimes it’s a nifty news article. Or perhaps it’s a YouTube video, or maybe a great mentor. Or perhaps it’s as simple as a job advertisement you find on the internet.