Getting ready

bouga bons

Joe and I will go to Vietnam in August. We’ll be going to Ho Chi Minh City, which was Saigon. We’re teaching for one semester, about five months. at Ton Duc Thang University, which is a university created by the trade unions, the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor. Joe will be teaching “Community Mobilization,” which sounds like internal organizing. I will be teaching “The Art of Leadership.”

I am going to try to blog what happens.

To begin with, I have to learn how to blog. I’ve spent a couple of hours looking at WordPress and Blogspot. Wikipedia says that Blogspot has been blocked in Vietnam. I don’t know if WordPress has been blocked. But that’s why I think I’m going with WordPress.

Yesterday we bought our tickets — $524 one way each. Vietnam Airlines, a 19 hour flight with one plane change in Taipei. Leg room? Hmmm… Two checked bags, 50 pounds each, which will be mostly books.

I got my tetanus and TDP shots at Kaiser, talked with my GP, made other appointments. More than you wanted to know, I’m ‘sure, but it’s part of getting ready. Other parts include looking at maps, reading the Vietnam Labor Code, trying to second-guess what the art of leadership looks like there.

I made a huge point in my book about the importance of understanding the actual social relations of work on a particular job if you want to understand how people learn, what they learn, and how to interact with them as a teacher. While I was writing it, I was only thinking about the social relations of work in the US. After having just scratched the surface of reading about the social relations of work in Vietnam, I am overwhelmed by the thought of trying to learn a whole new set of social relations and figuring out how to act like a teacher in the midst of the people for whom they are the reality.

Let me see if I can post this somewhere. Once I post it, I will have to see if I can find it.

Published by helenaworthen

Labor educator, retired from University of Illinois, taught at TDT University in Ho Chi Minh City in the Faculty of Trade Unions and Labor Relations. Co-author with Joe Berry of Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the contingent faculty movement in higher education, forthcoming (August 2021) from Pluto Press.

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