Update: I see that ATEK’s leader (I won’t disgrace the title “president” in reference to him) has commented about my post on the ATEK Open Discussion forum where Breanna Horn (National Council Hogwan Rep) started a thread titled, “A different Take 0n ATEK” which says,

“A post I found about ATEK’s online visibility at Kimchi Icecream and ease of access for teachers. Any thoughts on the post? Is there anything about this we can/should/have already addressed?”

The response from ATEK’s leader?

“Well, part of it is that we haven’t had a comms officer in a few months.  Rob is in now so I expect great things.  Also, this guy didn’t do any research before writing his story. We have access to almost 2,000 teachers on Facebook now – twice our membership.  And, the bloggers write stories – however misinformed.  I think the NEW newsletter, a new comms officer, and some really big success stories from us in the near future will turn the current PR picture around.  I should mention that the perception of ATEK is leaps and bounds ahead of where it was a year ago at this time” (my bold and italics).

Thank you for completely missing the point of this blog post (see below).

I’m feeling a new blog post coming to me: 100 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join ATEK!

Does anyone else find it incredibly bizarre that ATEK’s leader himself points out what I write in my post?  He says,

“I think the NEW newsletter, a new comms officer, and some really big success stories from us in the near future will turn the current PR picture around.”

I wonder if he realizes that he’s admitting there have been problems, that there has been a lack of communication “from us” to the native teachers, and that the “PR picture” has problems that need to be “turn[ed] . . . around” . . . which is what I was trying to convey through my post . . .

Seriously, very not impressed!

My original post begins here . . .

Okay, so ATEK is getting a bit of renewed Kbloggage lately and a few of my friends on facebook are also talking about them too.

But I would like to pose the following question: If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

Where I’m coming from is that if I don’t visit the ATEK website regularly (which I don’t), and I’m not a member (which I’m not), then I pretty much don’t hear anything about ATEK and what they’re up to.

Some might suggest that if I want to hear updates (I’m indifferent . . . okay, slightly curious at times) that I should just join ATEK and then I’d be on their email list . . . but I don’t want to; I’d also point out that expat teachers like myself who are sitting on the fence in terms of ‘to join or not to join ATEK’ might be persuaded to join if regular communication and press releases were posted on a mainstream expat Internet web site or blog as opposed to only on ATEK’s website.

ATEK’s lack of press releases has resulted in me getting my information from Chris in South Korea and Roboseyo‘s blogs–which I find really bizarre because neither of them are press officers for ATEK yet they seem to be filling in this ginormous void that ATEK doesn’t seem too concerned about . . . or maybe doesn’t know about . . . or . . . meh, whatever.

It’s sad that ATEK doesn’t have an active blog (I think a former press officer used to, but it disappeared when he did) because I would add it to my side bar and definitely would have clicked on this story, ATEK adding new legal assurance program–but this story isn’t coming from ATEK, it’s coming from Chris in South Korea‘s blog.  Chris, being the good guy he is, blogged about the information he received in an ATEK membership email about the development–so, it seems like if you’re not a member you can’t be privy to what ATEK is doing unless you join them, visit their website, or know someone on the inside . . . help me out if I’m missing any other options for getting info . . .

The legal assurance program is something substantial, something positive, something big (at least in my mind it is) that ATEK has produced that can and likely will make a big difference for foreign teachers who run into contract problems with their employers, and other legal situations they need help in.  Yet there has been no Korean English news media press release, and foreign teachers in Korea will likely for the most part learn about the story via a blogger who to my knowledge has no official connections or role with ATEK other than as a member . . .

Instead of producing their own media press releases that reach as wide an audience of native teachers as possible ATEK seems to be relying on its website as their primary communication medium–which I personally think is a big mistake.  How can ATEK expand its membership when it is failing to communicate and reach out to native teachers through mainstream channels?

UPDATE: Julianne and I were chatting about my ATEK post tonight during dinner, and she pointed out the following problem: It is now April 21st and neither Julianne nor myself remember seeing a major publicity and recruitment campaign put on by ATEK to inform newly arrived in Korea native teachers about membership and other relevant info.  You’d think that if increasing membership numbers is the primary focus of ATEK right now that there would have been a major media campaign at the end of February and throughout March . . . was there one? I mean, other than on ATEK’s site itself?

Here are some questions I posed and did a little research on . . .

UPDATE: A buddy from facebook posted this comment,

“Hi Jason,

You can get updates with http://www.twitterfeed.com, which will send ATEK’s RSS feed to your Twitter or Facebook account.

You can read more about it here:http://thesocialmediaguide.com.au/2010/04/25/how-to-send-rss-feeds-to-twitter-and-facebook/

I hope that helps,

Dayle.”

Thanks Dayle.

Does ATEK have a Twitter feed? No.

I did a search on Twitter and came up with nothing.  I did a search on Google and came up with nothing.  (If there is one please post the link in the comments for this post and I’ll add an update too.)

Does ATEK have a facebook group for communication and sharing information? Yes/No.

A facebook search for “ATEK” produces 81 results (not all of which have to do with ATEK in Korea). There is a Seoul ATEK Group, and a Busan ATEK Group, a Gyeongnam ATEK GroupGwangju ATEK, Jeollabuk ATEK, and more . . . . Gyeongbuk ATEK, Gyeonggi ATEKGangwon ATEK, Chungnam ATEK,

Chungbuk ATEKJeju ATEK,  Daegu ATEK, and possibly many more . . .

UPDATE: Roboseyo sent me an email about this post, and apparently I missed finding the primary ATEK facebook group.  The problem with this group, though, is that you must sign up to view whatever is there–and that might be the reason why people are reluctant to do so.   It’s been suggested that people don’t want to sign up for this group because they think it means they’re also signing up to be a member of ATEK–which is not true, you’re just signing up to be a member of the fb group; I think it’s more likely that people want a chance to look at what is being said, and done, in the group before they sign up.  I have to wonder if the reason it’s a CLOSED group that requires one to sign up is due to some of the anti-ATEK people online and how they can be extremely negative and toxic in their comments and postings on websites and blogs . . . if it was open access to the public then the group would have to deal with this kind of crap.  If this is the case then it makes sense to me that you have to sign up . . .

I put ‘Yes/No’ as the answer to this question because while there are many facebook ATEK groups there doesn’t appear to be one centralized group which is moderated by someone in a leadership position at ATEK.  This seems kind of odd as facebook is probably the most popular website native teachers in Korea use, and would be the easiest location in which to set up a group page where native teachers could join in order to stay up to date with ATEK’s progress but not have to join ATEK if they didn’t want to . . . hmmmm, now there’s something that might merit looking into.

Anyways, I hope ATEK figures out how to communicate more with the native teacher community.

The last thing I want to comment on is the nonsense taking place in the comment sections in these two posts: Rumblings about ATEK: Response to Chris and Rumblings around ATEK – and a new group forming UPDATED.  I’ll just copy and paste what I wrote in the comment feed on Roboseyo’s post.

“It’d be nice for a change if all the wailing and gnashing of teeth over bruised egos would be put aside and some individuals would exercise some restraint about what they comment about . . .

If all the time and energy invested in ego defense and inflation were put into the issues native teachers have in Korea imagine how much more productive that would be . ..

There’s a reason why I haven’t blogged about ATEK–and that’s primarily cause I get tired of reading all the pissy little comments and flame wars that blow up over who said what, when, how, to who, and why, and then hashing all of it to death.

I’d rather listen to the sounds of lip smacking and slurping that I can hear in the teachers office right now as an ajusshi teacher eats his ramen then continue to hear some of the comments in this post.

BLAH!”

I hope some of the ideas and suggestions here might help ATEK create a communication vehicle with which it can share information with native teachers in Korea . . . cause right now my answer to this question . . .

If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound?

. . . is . . .

Not really.

J

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