Though it rained today, it felt like the atmosphere had lifted in my world. I felt better and more balanced. People smiled at me more and it brought back my self-confidence at work to a more normal level.
Still, I feel a little anxious about getting organized to travel in two-and-a-half weeks. I need to get cracking on making the final decisions about the exams and having them prepared before it is too late. I also have to make the poster for my presentation at the “Future of Education” conference in Florence.
Furthermore, I am mindful of doing things well so as to earn good reviews about this semester. I need to be careful about how the classes are played out in this last phase of teaching this semester. I also need to be careful about choosing and preparing the final exams.
I am concerned about the impression I am making as I wrap up this semester especially because I just discovered that I received a lowish evaluation for a second year conversation class last semester, in the fall of 2013. It came to my attention this week because there is an administrative process to follow whenever a student evaluation yields low results. The teacher is given an opportunity to explain what may have happened to bring about such a review. Yesterday, I stayed a bit late to go over the class records and recall the situation. My conscience is clear as I hope my record still is. You never know, though.
To the best of my recollection, there were no problem students and no problem incidents. My best guess is that the personalities and class dynamics caused the low evaluation. I taught this class exactly as I did its equivalent. I had two groups of the same courses, you see, one larger with more proficient English students, and the other smaller with lower proficiency. It was the latter that needled me. The other, in fact, rated me highly! What to think when the same lesson plans and materials for the same class leave two groups with drastically different impressions? I think the smaller one felt discouraged because of their overall low performance, which made them less competitive in the English department. Only four students received A’s, none of them A+’s, and I can see why they may have felt disgruntled. Two low competency students dragged the class down, and a couple of students dropped out, which affected the atmosphere. I think it was the character of the class that was the biggest factor in causing the low evaluation.
I do not feel greatly endangered by this news of a poor evaluation outcome, even though there was one such odd low evaluation last year too, but I have to stay alert. I need to keep my ears pricked up and have alternative plans ready. I think I would go to Japan for a four-month stint where I have been invited to be interviewed before if I felt I had to break away from my current post suddenly.
Yeah, there are well-paid teaching positions in a university program for business people there, on short terms, however. The next term starts in September, followed by one next May. I would go home, apply to that place in Japan again, take a short Canadian course in teaching English, work a bit, and write. Then I’d take the May to September term in Japan, if it were offered. I mean, that’s what has been my plan for a while. Knowing that my pension potential was not threatened and in fact would be strengthened by staying and working in Korea longer has kept me here through to 2014.
Yes, I will have to make the move relatively soon, anyway. This contract may be my last in Korea. I feel that my time here is almost done, though I would like a clearer sign of my next phase of existence. At least I know that that next phase will not be “retirement.”