My name is Tim and I am an English teacher in Southern China. I moved here in May of 2019 and have thoroughly enjoyed my time so far. I have written a diary of the past month, as China and the rest of the world have deal with the COVID – 19, or Coronavirus, and how it has affected me. There is a lot of information going around about the virus so hopefully people might find my first-hand account beneficial.
February 25th – March 5th
Online classes grow steadily easier. We split classes into two to make sure that each student gets enough attention. The students and myself are more adept at using the technology which means the classes are a lot smoother.
There are less and less cases in the Fujian province where I am. This has led to more and more things we took for granted being reopened. The shopping mall is back up again so we can go shopping. I’m not a big shopper at all but it is nice to be able to do some retail therapy! The same goes for parks. It is nice to be able to be outside and see some of Fuzhou’s scenic spots. Fresh air is one of the many small things that you don’t appreciate until it is gone.
I have entertained myself by continuing to read books and get through TV series at a rate of knots! I’ve never been able to see so much good stuff as I have in the last month. We have also been able to have board game nights and pub quizzes in local bars which has broken up the weeks nicely. It is always good to touch base with teachers and friends, especially as we can’t get to the office.
March 6th – March 19th
Online classes continue to progress. Several challenges has presented themselves, such as making sure students are able to do tests in proper test conditions. I also have to make conscious efforts to make the classes as varied as possible within the parameters of online teaching. As teaching staff we are still doing weekly meetings to share ideas to discuss what works and what doesn’t.
Although the school has been affected we’ve been lucky enough to not have our hours or pay affected, unless we have wanted to. This makes it so much easier to quarantine and not be worried about paying bills, which is fantastic.
A few of the teachers and I were fortunately able to have a weekend away to Xiamen. Xiamen is an international city, which is made of up of a few beautiful islands. It is just a few hours away from Fuzhou and has many western restaurants and bars so it is a firm favourite amongst our teachers. It was great for us be in a different environment and outside of our apartments, and we ended up having an extremely fun St. Patrick’s day! There were a few more bureaucratic checks to do at the station which was a little frustrating but all in all a price worth paying.
The other big development is the status of the virus back home. It is clearly a developing situation and hopefully everyone is able to stay safe. As cases rise in the West and decrease here checks amongst us have been more frequent as people want to make sure we haven’t recently arrived.
It is unprecedented times, but what I have said to friends and family is that it has gotten easier week by week. It was, and is, an uncomfortable time, but by making sacrifices the outlook for both the school I work at and the country as a whole have improved dramatically over the last couple of months. Fingers crossed that this will be the same for everyone at home.
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