The COVID 19 pandemic is one of those things that has shaken our lives forever. Worldwide, it has affected how we do business, how we live, and even how we teach.
The first cases of COVID 19 appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2020. Despite this, I decided to move to China to teach. And the question I frequently get asked by family and friends is what the reality of teaching English in China during the COVID pandemic is? So, I thought I would share my own reality of teaching English in China during the COVID pandemic.
In general, the reality of teaching English in China during the COVID pandemic is pretty normal. China is one of the only countries which have succeeded in tackling the outbreak. For example, I was surprised to go to school, interact and teach my students face-to-face after moving to China from Canada during the pandemic. At the time of writing, April 26, 2021, Canada is still in strict lockdown.
The Reality of Teaching at My School During The COVID Pandemic
At school, we are back to normal. Classes are run normally, and no one wears a mask in the classroom unless they don’t feel well (no COVID symptoms). Since I started work in February 2021, we have had no cases of COVID at the school. And, I am pleased to report that we had our first mock examination with around 30 students in class.
To prevent any issues, the classrooms are cleaned often, and windows are usually kept open to allow air to enter, and all classes are in person, and there are no online classes at this time.
Students can participate in all extracurricular activities such as basketball, football, ping pong, and physical education. However, it is the teacher’s responsibility to watch for any symptoms of COVID and inform the school administration.
Is it safe to Teach English in China During the COVID Pandemic?
Generally, China is a safe country to travel to and teach English; however, with the COVID pandemic, you will need to be extra careful. Even though China has now successfully contained the outbreak well inside its borders, there is still the underlying risk of a resurgence, mainly from imported cases of COVID-19. Therefore, there are various travel restrictions currently, and many preventative measures are policy in China you need to be aware of.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while teaching English in China during the COVID pandemic.
– Wear a mask on public transportation – During the COVID pandemic, everyone wears a mask on public transit; however, social distancing is not required. My primary method of transportation is the subway and the subway in Guangzhou is well maintained, clean, and on schedule; I use it all the time.
– Accept temperature checks at shopping malls – Most shopping malls require a temperature check or green health code. You will need to use WeChat to scan a QR code at the shopping mall entrance. Ask for help whenever you need it.
– Government buildings and offices – Contrary to Canada (and most of the countries in the world), where all workplaces are locked down, all government buildings in China are opened and accessible to the public. However, when accessing government buildings, you will be required to have your temperature checked and scan your phone for a green health code. When I went to get my residence permit, I got my temperature checked, and I used my WeChat to scan a QR code to get a green health code before entering the building.
– Traveling within China – You can still travel within China, but most schools recommend limiting your travels within your provinces. Some provinces are still considered high-risk zones for the COVID pandemic. Also, to access airports and train stations will be required to scan a QR code.
– Health and fitness facilities are open – This month, I joined Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), yoga classes, and the gym. We are not required to wear masks during the yoga classes, BJJ classes, and gym workout.
– Public parks are also open – All outdoor activities are accessible and open. I love running, especially in public parks, and usually, temperature checks are not required to access public parks.
– Avoid busy public places whenever possible – Even though there is no lockdown, it would be wise to avoid large crowds, or if you do, do not forget to wear your mask.
– Bars and restaurants are back to normal – Most of my colleagues meet after work or on the weekends for drinks or dinner parties. Two weeks ago, there was a beer festival in Guangzhou.
– Hotels – If you recently arrived in China, make sure to call the hotel before booking. Always, double-check if your hotel can accept foreigners, as very few hotels do right now. I remember, after my quarantine, a hotel refused to let me stay in when they discovered that I just come from Canada. However, the hotel staff actually helped find a different hotel that accepts foreigners regardless of whether they are new to China or not.
Overall, the reality of teaching English in China during the COVID pandemic is constantly changing. However, in general, the situation is back to normal in almost all areas. I would recommend you always do your research, ask for help from your school and agency.