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 If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Musings on why ATEK isn’t communicating with the expat community . . .

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 about 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” (my bold and italics).

I wonder if he realizes that he seems to be 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!

Oh, and I might as well illustrate further why I’m just a wee bit pissed off.  A couple days ago I sent EIGHTEEN IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS to help improve ATEK that I spent time and energy writing up and sending to Rob . . . yeah.

1.  “The Faces of ATEK” – Do a photo shoot where the faces of ATEK each do a one minute self-introduction video (or 30 seconds) and introduce themselves, tell a little bit of bio info, and then say what they do for ATEK.

This will HUMANIZE ATEK for the native teacher community, and make it less of some kind of abstract entity.

It doesn’t have to be a pro video (maybe later in the future) and could even just be someone’s netcam or point and shoot camera in their apartment that they self shoot for now.

I’ve noticed that X is an ATEK member, I think.  Why not ask him if he’d be willing to volunteer some of his time to do a photo shoot of the council?  . . .

2.  Have an “ATEK forest” with animated/flash trees.  Tree 1 would be the structural tree with links to picture/video/role/title/rank/name of ATEK’s leadership.  Tree 2 could be the ‘useful teaching sites’ tree with links to teaching resources.  Tree 3 could be an ATEK site map that links to the major categories …..and so on.

A community made of ‘trees’ ….

3.  Print up on sheets of A4 paper (6 cards per sheet to be cut up) the basics of ATEK and then have a volunteer media blitz in major cities around Korea where ATEK members walk around handing out small pieces of paper with the ATEK website and basic info on it to native teachers walking around popular foreign shopping and drinking areas.

4.  Is there an ATEK monthly newsletter [THAT IS NOT ONLY FOR MEMBERS]?  For now it’d need to be something VERY simple in form and design otherwise it’d be a nightmare in terms of time and energy to produce.  It could have things like: dates and basic descriptions of ATEK’s activities over the past month, highlight the biggest thing done in the past month, 1 teaching tip for each level of school and type of school from hogwan to elementary to high school to university, new and interesting teaching websites, TED video of the month link, and so on.

DELEGATING sections of the newsletter to be written by different people is the best idea for this.  Also, editing by all members of the national council would be a good idea to avoid mistakes about info, etc.

5.  If you want to get ATEK supported and networking with companies and money groups why not begin a ‘book of the month’ for teachers and post it on the website, and put it in the newsletter too.  I’m sure you’d have publishing company reps salivating to get involved in that–especially if you point out that as time passes the numbers of people you’ll be sending the letter to will only grow.

6.  ATEK Town hall on Skype.  Why not have ‘town hall’ meetings once every 3 months, or twice a year where all members can watch live video feed of the president and executive council talk about issues and questions sent in before the meeting begins, and then during the meeting members and non-members can ask questions?  This idea needs a lot more fleshing out but it would be a truly democratic style medium in which all members and teachers in Korea could get some access to the leadership.

7.  ATEK website forums are not really being used from what I’ve seen.  Organize a Kblogger blitz where a question/issue is posed, people blog about it and post the link to the forum where answers can be posted, and watch the use of the forums explode. (PLUS it increases traffic to the ATEK website).

8.  Facebook ATEK Groups–there needs to somehow be a primary group which ALL facebook ATEK people, and other groups’ members, have signed up for.  It doesn’t look like that’s happening, and in terms of getting info out fast and in ‘real time’ or close to it that’d be a good idea, I think.  I know a Twitter feed would be even better but I think that fb has more users who are checking it hourly if you know what I mean.

9.  The ATEK orientation guide needs to be promoted regularly throughout the year.  It’s a great resource and will draw new teachers constantly just through them checking it out.  When I say ‘regularly’ I mean February and March, August and September, because those are the big influx times for new teachers each year.

Again, Kbloggers could drive traffic to the orientation guide link, and by proxy to the ATEK website.

10.  ATEK needs to THANK the volunteers for their time and energy periodically.  Name people who have gone above and beyond, and say what they’ve done.  Post this on the website, facebook, and a few other places.

11.  ATEK Volunteer Awards…….?  January of each year, nothing fancy, but something to give recognition of hard work, sacrifice, etc.  Something that can be put on your resume to show you’ve been contributing to teaching in Korea, etc.

12.  Does ATEK have a blog widget (is that the right word?) that bloggers who are members could put up on their blogs?

As for why I haven’t joined ATEK yet . . . I still have a bad taste in my mouth from seeing all the toxic bickering that went on.  I’m very unimpressed with the lack of visible small tasks being accomplished to help ATEK grow and develop (again, this is where my comments come from about how YOU have a very different vision of what ATEK is right now, and what’s going on that makes it worth my time and energy).

Are my expectations too high? Maybe a little, but I think if you don’t have a clear vision, and long term goals to shoot for, that ATEK just becomes some little group that will likely fade away due to a lack of clear goals and something to work towards . . . and if no one is hearing about the small steps being taken day by day, little task by little task, it begins to look like all ATEK is doing is trying to get its body count raised.

13.  Why should I join ATEK?  “100 Reasons Why You Should Join ATEK”  People need to be sold on why they should join ATEK, and this would be a good way to sell ATEK and explain what it is and why you should join.  Post it on the website, and blogs.

14.  ATEK Social Events that could also function as fund raisers for operational costs.

a) Christmas dinner at restaurants in each of the ATEK regions for members and non-members (maybe bring a non-member to the dinner).

b) Christmas caroling

c) ATEK hike a mountain and plant the ATEK flag, take a pic, and post it.

d) Halloween parties

e) Thanksgiving dinner

f)  Welcome new teachers just arriving in Korea dinner

15.  Cross-cultural tips for teachers: have a tip in each newsletter about common cross-cultural issues.

16.  Do an active recruiting drive to fill the vacant positions.  Maybe some kind of 30 second video with the president making a speech about why teachers should apply?

17.  Get X (name of a popular Kblogger) on board! . . . . . . . . .

18.  Benefits–appeal to what native teachers need and want,

a) social networking with other professionals–fb groups

b) access to teaching resources from long term and experienced NETs

c) human rights activities – have ATEK start getting involved with other groups by sending volunteers to events (if the human rights event is ALREADY set up, then the only thing an ATEK person needs to do is send out info and get volunteers to sign up–pretty low time and energy cost if you ask me)

d) partiers: set up fund raising events where NETs who like to party can do so and at the same time contribute an obegwon (500won) per drink to ‘the cause’

I guess when the top two leaders of ATEK keep making excuses about the lack of consistent and up to date communication, and how they shouldn’t be the ones trying to keep the native teacher community informed and up to date–well, all of this begins to make sense:  “we haven’t had a comms officer in a few months” (Dolezal) and from my original post a comment from Bean, “But my point is, if you want information, go get it. Dont’ complain that it doesn’t find you. I’d rather have less spam in my inbox and go dig than the other way around. I have yet to be convinced that spamming people will enamor them to us.” (Click here to see the original context of Bean’s quote. I think it’s relevant to my post about communication in that he seems to think that getting info out to the native teacher community is like ‘spamming’ . . . I don’t understand that kind of thinking.)

Oh, just in case you’re like me and haven’t memorized the names of the president and vice-president of ATEK–you can see the names and ranks on ATEK’s national leadership on the website here.

It seems to me that ATEK’s leadership really dislikes critical and dissenting opinions and criticisms . . . and I completely get that there has been a veritable blizzard of toxic non-productive bullshit flung at them for some time now–but it seems to me that neither the president nor the vice-president are willing to take a moment, and do their own research . . .

Perhaps a survey of ATEK’s leadership and its ranks might be in order to see how they feel about whether or not ATEK has been communicating with the native teacher community effectively, and consistently, and in a manner in which the onus is NOT placed on teachers to have to search for ATEK and everything it is claiming it has to offer . . .

Just a thought.