by Anonymous International Teacher / ISR Guest Writer
On the 26th of March 2020, China instigated significantly restricted travel Visas for both exiting and entering the country. As of November, 2022, there is still no specific date set for the free flow of people into and out of the country.
As such, there has been a strong emphasis on educators’ inability to leave the country, but that is not the end of it. With the experience of living through some of the world’s most draconian lock-downs (known as ‘dynamic Covid’) in the world, what is not as clearly understood is the wide variability in people’s personal experiences in China during lock-down.
I personally know of people who have been teaching in-person safely and with the continued ability to travel around China. In contrast, there are examples where friends have had trouble getting essentials such as adequate food. This may have been due to having weak links to ‘group buying,’ common during major city lock-downs. Or, it may be due, in part, to a lack of Chinese language skills and/or little to no support from the school.
Something that I think has often been misunderstood is the chronic trauma and grief suffered by some fellow educators in China that still follows them to this day. Not being able to leave your home for months at a time can lead to major problems with social isolation. The students are also in the same boat, so our ability to look after our students was also mixed.
Administrators from outside countries, I also believe, paint teachers from China with a very broad brush stroke as “damaged goods” or have the attitude of “we went through the same in _XYZ_ country and survived, so we don’t understand your trauma as being that big of a deal.”
What would you like administrators to know about YOUR experience when they interview teachers who have been in China during Covid times? How was mental health addressed for staff in YOUR school while working in a city that experienced prolonged lock-downs? Do you feel that there is a discrimination, for or against, those educators who come from posts in China?
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