My dearest, closest NATE Friends, Comrades, Relatives,
Congratulations! We are not just alive, we are kicking: we have got together again under the umbrella of the National Association of Teachers of English (Russia) that still exists, works and unites us - against all odds. Many thanks to the NATE Russia authorities and very special thanks to Samara colleagues, so devoted and selfless, as always.
Now, in 2018, we have another good chance to meet, to discuss our achievements and difficulties, our victories and failures, our likes and dislikes, to learn some new ideas, to SHARE our knowledge and teaching experience - and to do all this in a warm, friendly way with colleagues, sisters and brothers, heroines and heroes (mind the word order in the last two collocations) because what we are doing under the present-day circumstances is a feat.
What are we in the new globalizing world, in the kingdom of the Internet, dealing with a very new and very different type of students, teaching the global language of the global village in the tense situation of falling-out with the global language speakers' world (meaning their very official and powerful circles)? What are we, the global language non-native teachers? Poor martyrs or lonely heroes? These and many other professional questions - what to teach and how to do it - are to be discussed at the NATE Russia Conference in the beautiful, friendly and hospitable city of Samara.
My dear compatriot EL teachers! Yes, we are overworked and underpaid, tired of formalities and bureaucracy but we love our profession and our extremely important though very difficult job, we are brave and experienced, we are kind and generous, ready to share our knowledge with students and colleagues, we are missionaries of peace and friendship, we are heroines and heroes but we are not lonely because we are united by the NATE Russia, our professional union, and "we shall overcome some day" (quoting the very popular American song), and the day is not far away. Let's hope and be optimistic!