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A Year of Living Positively-Day 289

The conference ended. Generally, I think it was a success although it may not have worked out so well financially. The participation level was a bit lower than hoped. We’ll see once all the info is in and the accounting is done before a proper assessment can be done.
The annual general business was carried out. There were the usual questions about interpreting the financial reports. Two special resolutions regarding Constitutional and by-law changes to elections procedures just concerning majority vote rules were passed unanimously. The election results were reported. There were not enough votes to acclaim a new Secretary, which leaves a big gap in the center’s capacity to organize. The President’s report summing up the past year of work was predictable. Some recent history of financial hiccups were explained. We finished the business in just over an hour.
It being World Teachers’ Day, I found time to write up a message for the TEA-KOR network when I had to sit around. I volunteered on the spur of the moment to offer relief to the coat and bag check guy, our friend and past President of the Busan-Gyeongnam area. He was the only volunteer there for both days of the conference, so I offered to give him a break. While I was manning the coat and bag checks, I typed up the message using my mobile phone and the group Facebook page. A copy of this message follows. (Because it was written by means of a tiny keyboard and tiny screen on the mobile smart phone, the statement was written as one paragraph.)
Greetings and solidarity for World Teachers' Day! (Oct. 5) This year's theme is, "Invest in the Future, invest in Teachers!" Many inferences from this call can be made. For one thing, it reflects the current problem of widespread under employment of teachers as many are laid off, on contracts, working part-time and under paid. These are realities of teachers involved in big struggles today. In fact, their right to organize is under fire. For example, the Court of Appeals recently ruled that the Korea Teachers Union was invalid, although it has just suspended that decision because the Supreme Court of S. Korea is addressing the case now. The Teachers' Day call also implies the support of public education and state funding for education and teachers. In the present neoliberal era, public education is under attack and 'marketized' / 'commodified', compromising quality, access, arts and humanities curricula, extracurricular programs, critical thinking and free inquiry. Teachers find themselves teaching to tests and wrapped up in stressful accountability activities. The current trend treats education as a business. The message of 10.5.2014 also underscores the role of educators in the social development and prosperity of society since they are vital in raising children and cultivating responsible citizens and leaders. Invest in educators and you invest in the children and our future. Society benefits most from a humanist approach to well rounded education that teaches social values. Indeed, teachers should embrace change and be allowed to explore criticism and encourage debate about alternatives. Teachers' struggles deserve respect and support. Solidarity and gratitude to all teachers on World Teachers Day!
I began writing this in the bus station over a Chinese style dinner. I had just said good-bye to my bed-and-breakfast “homestay parents”. We took portrait photos before departing, so here is a pic of the lovely couple. Mrs. Hong seemed a little sad that both her guests were leaving today. She wishes she could speak English better in order to converse with her guests better.
I am reviewing this entry and wrapping it up on the bus. It is pretty much full. In fact, I could not get an earlier bus because it was already sold out when I went to purchase a ticket. I had to wait for the seven o’clock bus. By coincidence, one of my former students is sitting in the seat in front of me. I taught her twice before when she was a freshman student. She says she remembers her time in my classes a lot. I noticed that her English has really improved and told her so. She has been studying a lot especially because she just applied to be an airline attendant with UAE airlines. I wanted to mark papers, but the overhead cabin lights are not functioning, so I resorted to the netbook.

Oct. 5 note: Everything is done here except for pasting in the TEA-KOR Teacher’s Day message and the photos.

Oct. 7, 0800h-blog updated and posted with TD message.

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