Keep the faith. Small acts of kindness abound and fortune smiles, though you may not notice. Keep your mind and eyes open and you will see.
Here are some examples from my experiences yesterday. Despite some negative feedback, good things happened. People around me were generally thoughtful and helpful, though some of my students of last semester rated my teaching low.
When I went out yesterday, I noticed the guard's puppy shivering outside in the cold rain. This lovely friendly and well behaved 6 to 8-month old Jindo puppy is often left alone on a short tether in front of the building for long hours, even overnight in freezing temperatures, without company and proper food, water and exercise. The day before, I stopped to play with her twice and gave her some water. Yesterday, I took her and her gear inside the entrance to the building. She really wanted a walk and was trying to hold in her waste, but I had not time for her then, so she relented and went inside but piddled on the tiles. At least it was a bit warmer inside the building. The dog and gear were gone when I returned, and I notice they have not left her outside today, thankfully.
I had a routine medical appointment. Fortunately, I did not have to wait long in the queues.
It rained and I had no umbrella, but a taxi driver offered to give me his umbrella when I explained why I wanted a taxi to go a short distance. Since I was headed to a store anyway, I coped without this nice man's generous offer; I said I would buy an umbrella. I needed to keep an extra one on hand, in any case.
While I was at the store, I left an item behind. It was bulky, so I put it aside while I was organizing my purchases in my shopping bags then forgot about it. After a stop in a doughnut shop and the walk to the bus stop, which must have consumed about 45 minutes, I realized my omission. Yet, the item was still there on a bench waiting for me to return for it. People in Korea generally do not commit petty theft. Rather, they show concern for people and their belongings.
Back at home, found another positive comment about this blog. The writer said they thought the entry about my day was a good article, and they implied that it inspired them to make a journal, too. I should feel optimistic about my writing.
The editor who is completing the formatting of my published ebooks was supportive. He confirmed that big online stores like Amazon.com steal materials, in that they sell without reporting sales so that they take all the revenue instead of giving the authors their share. The positive side to that is that it is likely more of my books have been sold than it appears. This editor gave me a discount on the formatting order because of the quirkiness and finicky demands of the e-publisher.
Further on the topic of books, I have ordered the textbooks for the online editing course I have recently registered in. There was a hangup in ordering the books from the institution's bookstore because of their administration practices of online courses between semesters. That is fortunate, because this hangup spurred me to look at other sources for these books. I found good used copies of them at discount prices, and was able to use an old gift certificate given to me a long time ago by a brother. After applying this gift coupon, I have a credit. That means I only have to pay for shipping. As there was a problem getting the items shipped overseas, I asked a friend to receive them and forward them to me. He agreed to do this favour for me! I can minimize the shipping costs this way, too, especially since I bought paperback editions and used copies whose lower value keeps the price of tariffs down.
Because I received word of some negative feedback from a certain group of my students, I looked at all my student evaluations for my teaching in the fall semester of last year, 2015. One group for the same class, whom I taught exactly the same way, gave me a perfect score. Three other groups of this same course rated me normally at an acceptable level.
I need to keep all these positive experiences and input when looking at the negative student feedback. Sometimes there are groups where the dynamics and circumstances are against you. We sometimes find some students with a sense of entitlement who demand high grades yet do not want to work and are insulted if other less privileged and less traveled English language students receive better marks. Often, though, this kind of student expects to just coast through without having to work, but other students follow instructions and complete tasks better. Such were some students in the problem class. Many were also enrolled in a second course of mine, a writing course as opposed to the conversation practice course, and they brought this negative outlook into the writing class, too, resulting in negative feedback for this writing class. I have to keep it all in perspective for myself, no matter how my "bosses" interpret things. I know I have a pretty decent track record and strong effective teaching skills. this past semester, I tried hard to implement the best of my skills and knowledge in facilitating conversation practice. I went out of my way to make it interesting and create a variety materials and activities that would aid conversation and make the course experience fun for all. Despite such efforts, reviews can be unpredictable, especially when students are very competitive and stressed about performance.
I am fighting the nagging thoughts and negative emotional reaction that I am feeling this morning from the negative reviews I read yesterday. Writing this blog is one way to overcome them. Also, I think it best to stay away from the campus today, though I wanted to go to the campus gym.
Anyway, I have already begun planning the spring semester courses in such a way as to mitigate the kind of problems I had last semester. Fortunately, I have not been assigned the same type of course for the next semester. Rather, I have some senior conversation courses instead of those 2nd year conversation courses. That is probably due the kindness and foresight of our Coordinator who made our schedules.
Anyway, I am starting the (secret) transition into the world of publishing by embarking upon the editing course. It is time for me to move on, so I plan to quit English teaching and move back to my homeland after this contract. I am not telling my employer this yet, just in case, though. The negative side of my teaching experience of late tells me that I am correct in estimating that it is time for me to make a change.
Keep a healthy perspective. Do not overlook the acts of kindness and good fortune of daily life. Do not underestimate it. If things are not working out, make some changes.