Let’s Continue to be Kind to Each Other

Ask any International Educator and chances are they’ll tell you the allure of the unknown, the unpredictability of the experience, and the severing of ties with the day-to-day predictability back home, are why they took the leap.

Sometimes, however, we get more than we bargained for. Extreme, unpredicted events can be overwhelming for one educator, while for another a welcomed opportunity. Who’s to say which reaction is better than another’s? Each experienced a powerful, impacting event that to some degree changed their perception of the world. Mission accomplished!

The following comments transplanted here from our ISR Discussion Topic, China, Covid Lock-downs & Mental Health, reminds us to respect the way in which each of us deals with events beyond our comfort zone:

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“Well, for starters, I have a colleague who honestly says he enjoyed his lockdown experience. Personally, I wouldn’t give up my lockdown experience for anything. One of the big reasons I decided to teach internationally was because I enjoy experiencing other cultures and living in the rules and laws that govern those places I choose to live in, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The Shanghai lockdown was a truly once in a lifetime and unique experience and may never be replicated. It’s an anthropological treasure trove as it’s so unique. I saw how people banded together to find innovative ways of helping each other (group buys), how barter systems arise naturally, how top-down command and control dynamics play out in real time, and how humans are capable of a totally different way of collaborating under extreme conditions.

Many people forget that the whole idea of “lockdown” originated in Wuhan in the very beginning of the pandemic, and that idea was imported by many other countries, even if it didn’t match their own ideals, constitutions, or values. For China, this was the standard game-plan from the very beginning, so I wasn’t surprised when it happened in Shanghai and was more than ready mentally and with food supplies stocked.

People discredit China’s approach as being draconian (and it IS extreme) without looking at the number of lives the approach saved. They also forget that China has not shown the world how it plans to see its way out of the pandemic, and so, it’s too early to judge whether the social “cost” of the lockdowns was worth it or not.

It’s not like the rest of the world didn’t go through tough times as well. In China, I remember nearly 2 years where China was completely normal while the rest of the world was being ravaged by the pandemic. All was calm in China at the time. So, it’s important to see things from the perspective of the people that lived inside China at that time to have a measured view on it.

All this to say, this was my own experience, and I realize that many people had a very difficult time, either mentally, or physically, and their experiences should be respected and not discounted. Every person had a different experience, not just in China, but globally. Let’s continue to be kind to one another.

Comments? Please scroll down to participate in this ISR Discussion

8 thoughts on “Let’s Continue to be Kind to Each Other

  1. There is no room for “kindness” in most of the world’s international schools now. They are mostly cut-throat organizations run solidly on emphasis of the “bottom line.” The interests of the children enrolled in them are put secondary to the profit-motive of the entrepreneur who owns or controls them. It has become a very bad business.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Let’s be kind to one another you say …
    How ironic when you allow reviews to be published that are lies and slanderous
    Comments that accuse people of being physically violent or engaging in solicitous behaviour when they are simply not true…
    Comments such as this should be screened …
    People are being hurt …
    It’s not fair …
    Some staff are “ let go” because of their unsuitability to work with children – read between the lines – yet

    Comments that are from people who write … because they can …
    It doesn’t make it right and when the same person writes over and over and over ….
    Giving the impression that it is opinion of many … because they can
    People are being slandered and accused of horrendous behaviour – write back you say ?
    That only adds fuel to the fire and another rampage of “ trying to cover up”
    Stop this site from being anonymous and you will actually have worthwhile reviews. Be kind to one another ….

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    1. Exactly! It’s not right when admin cover up the failings of their schools by writing the same fake reviews over and over again, giving the impression it is the opinion of many. This leads staff to be duped into believing it is a positive environment when it’s absolutely not. Hardly kindness!

      I completely agree with you.

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    2. You sound like one of the admin at the most unprofessional school I’ve ever experienced. There were indeed a storm of reviews about people who were, as you say, “let go” from that school. And one admin is unwise enough to disclose her beliefs about who was writing them to her spouse, who freely shared the info, as usual. Maybe that is you?! In the case of the school where I work, all the reviews were written by different people, and I know that because we coordinated them. Mine was actually so truthful that it wasn’t published, so I’m assuming that ISR does edit them. For example, they wouldn’t publish the fact that one of the admin was finally sacked when someone forced the school to follow the country’s legal independent investigation procedure with a formal bullying complaint. This meant that the flurry of negative reviews were actually much more positive than they could have been! And no one mentioned the suicide attempt by one teacher after said bullying, or the baiting and harassment of another teacher who was autistic. I could go on and on. Thank god for ISR.

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  3. I love this post. All too often we project our expectations on our host country, which leads to anxiety or unhappiness. The way we perceive the world effects how we experience it. The way we perceive each other effects how we experience our fellow colleagues, educators, and community members. Let’s continue to be kind to one another. There’s a lot that we can’t control in this world, but our perspective, attitude, actions, and mindset give us the freedom to show kindness and to move through difficult experience with grace.

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  4. As someone in China it has been encouraging to see people finally get fed up with the government response. The pointless daily testing, being locked down because someone in your district far away got Covid and just the cruelty of not letting someone get care in an emergency. The PRC didn’t plan well and does not have vaccines or ICU beds ready. The advice be kind to one another is pertinent as this situation evolves. My boss keeps excitedly telling staff our school is recruiting from overseas but we just wonder who wants to come here right now?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I wouldn’t. Not even for the ridiculous salaries they are offering right now. Anyone who is still there slugging it out has my respect.

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    2. I feel fortunate that we are out of China. I didn’t realize how much stress we faced each day due to the restrictions until we were seated on the plane for our departure. The months of keeping our “health treasure” and “green arrow” apps in the green had been weighing on us.

      Our restrictions were minor compared to some, but the constant worry that at any moment I could be forced into quarantine, separate from my child who takes daily medications and needs to be observed for reactions, was taking its toll. So much was out of our control. Even if we locked ourselves up all day every day, if someone in our housing complex had popped in to the local Wumart at the same time another random stranger who later tested positive for covid happened to have visited, we could be paying the price.

      Having said that, if I were young and healthy and unencumbered, I think I could put up with the restricted travel opportunities and possible occasional quarantine, especially for the salaries offered. And after the recent protests, it seems the government is back-pedaling a bit. They have floated rumors that as they think they will have most of the elderly vaccinated by March, they will be opening up. It’s all smoke and mirrors, but who cares? If it results in relaxing the restrictions, let them save all the face they want.

      I don’t know if I’d write China off for Covid reasons if I didn’t have a child and elderly family members back home I want to see. But I’m a bit of a homebody. If you must travel every holiday or socialize regularly, it might be a good idea to stay away, unless you think they actually will open up this spring.

      We were a bit shell-shocked after our escape. We felt lost not having to check-in everywhere we went and take temperatures. No daily covid tests. Masks optional. Etc. It really felt like we had escaped prison, but before we left China, I honestly didn’t feel like all that was too much.

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