Our new president, Jeong Jin Hwa, won support for her pledge to focus on the principles of chamgyoyook, or as the Hankyoreh put it, go "back to the classrooms."
I wasn't aware that we had left the classrooms. It's disheartening to watch: the union has been forced to use the rhetoric of its opponents to define itself, its methods and goals.
Members I spoke with hope that she will establish a rapport with "the public." It may be that members hope she can placate the media before an extremist moves into Cheong Wa Dae. And who knows, editors might call off their attack dogs if the national exec prostrates itself before them.
But as I've said before, a union that fails to spend a single won on advertising is entirely at the mercy of the red-baiters. It's past time for a very public and continuing campaign. Subway cars, billboards, radio, newspapers, websites, TV. Beg borrow or steal the money to hire a marketing agency to see it through. I'd recommend nothing (overtly) ideological: simple shit like "If you can read this, thank a teacher" and "We are committed to your child's learning." Yes, columnists will make snide remarks, it won't much matter.
The strategy, I think, should be to associate teachers with learning. (This may sound absurd to readers outside Korea but trust me, when a parent hears the words "education" or "school," the last thing that comes to mind is a teacher.) Members will return, new ones will join, and the sanctimonious invectives of our opponents will be less effective. Then we might have more space and, eventually, more resources to pursue chamgyoyook.
Whither the money for this campaign? Kill the weekly newspapers. Encourage members to use all those great sites the union has developed, and save the trees.