I got an email this morning with a press release pdf file attached about ATEK‘s new national communication’s officer, Rob Ouwehand–also known as Roboseyo.

In my last post, If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Musings on why ATEK isn’t communicating with the expat community . . ., I wanted to elicit reactions from ATEK members, its leadership, and the general native teacher community . . . and I think I succeeded in provoking some thought and action about the general issue of TWO-WAY communication between ATEK and the native teacher community, and also the general lack of outgoing communication from ATEK’s leadership about what it’s doing.

You can read the full text here,  ATEK: New Communications Officer Plans to Get the Word Out.  I’ll share a few of the more salient points . . .

Rob is going to be a busy busy BUSY guy: “His duties will include communicating with the press and other media, developing and maintaining communication channels with the expat community, and responding to interview requests and inquiries from other media.”

I like how specific Rob is in describing the “goals for his term include working with ATEK’s webmaster on maximizing the website’s usefulness, finding new ways to more regularly update the public on ATEK’s actions, and plotting and producing materials useful for teachers at different stages in their life in Korea, from deciding to come, arriving, and adjusting, to maximizing their experience here and contributing meaningfully in their communities” (my italics and bold).

I think if ATEK, and Rob in particular, is creative in its communication and public relations strategies that reaching over 20,000 teachers won’t be a problem, “However, Ouwehand has his work cut out for him: there are estimated to be over 20 000 foreign English teachers in Korea, and it is difficult to reach them all.”  If one teacher is reached in each of the hundreds (if not thousands) of groups out there, and within each group that ONE teacher shares their knowledge about ATEK with their group members/friends about how to access ATEK’s resources, and sign up if they’re interested, then the problem is nowhere near as ginormous as it seems to be.   Twitter, Facebook, and blogs will facilitate this goal if they are used strategically and creatively, I think.

“Ouwehand believes ATEK is an easy sell: “It’s hard to refuse a group that is doing everything it can to make your life easier.””  I recently sent Rob an email in which I made some suggestions for ATEK, one of which was: “Why should I join ATEK? [Make a list of] “100 Reasons Why You Should Join ATEK” [and publish it on ATEK’s site].  People need to be sold on why they should join ATEK . . . Post it on the website, and blogs.”  I can see some of what ATEK is doing to “make [my] life easier” in Korea, but I think having ONE HUNDRED specific small, or big, things it can do would motivate more teachers to join.

Rob is definitely a good choice, in my opinion, for communications officer. “He has been published in The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea, and been featured in the Canadian Embassy newsletter. On his blog he talks a lot about community, and the need for expats to become more connected; “Writing about it is easy; now it’s time to take action.””

I was impressed to read a member of ATEK’s leadership say something similar, I think, to my post about the critical need for regular and consistent communication between ATEK and the native teachers community, “Russell Bernstein, ATEK’s National Membership Director, is hopeful about the change as well. “Building a great support system for teachers in Korea is nice, but it only helps them if they know about it,” he explained. “We think Rob is the man to spread the word, and help ATEK connect with the people who need our services and support”” (my italics and bold).

Considering how often new teachers arrive in Korea, which is literally on a DAILY basis, there is a need for consistent and daily communication (which could be done via Twitter, and Facebook).  New teachers need to be informed of all the resources they can access, and if ATEK becomes the primary ‘hub’ (sorry, had to do it, lol) of ‘all things native teachers need’ then it has to repetitively send out messages about what they can offer, and why new teachers should join their association.

If ATEK does something in the forest, now Rob can tell everyone about it, and we then have a chance to learn about it, think about it, and make an informed choice to help each other out.

Congratulations Rob!


Update:  I noticed that there is a link to my If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Musings on why ATEK isn’t communicating with the expat community . . . post at an ATEK open discussion thread.

Breanna Horn starts a thread titled, “A different Take 0n ATEK” and 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?”

If you have the time please go and post what you think about the issue.