Teaching TEFL in China During the Pandemic

By Altiné Mni

Just at the time when the 2019 outbreak began in December here in Wuhan, China, I decided to move to China to live and teach. The decision to move to China, especially at the start of the pandemic, wasn’t easy. My family and friends frequently ask me the reality of living and teaching in China during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The short answer is that living and teaching in China during the Covid-19 pandemic is pretty normal. China is among the few countries that have succeeded in tackling the outbreak and quickly resumed going back to normal, everyday life.  

For instance, I was surprised to go to school, interact and teach my students face-to-face after moving to China from Canada during the pandemic (when I left Canada, the whole country was still in lockdown)

Here’s a snapshot of my everyday life during the pandemic in China.

Gym and Fitness Centers 

Most health and fitness centers, including gyms and yoga clubs, are open. Wearing a mask is not required, but you will need to have a green code, meaning you don’t have any Covid-19 symptoms and haven’t come into contact with anyone who has Covid-19.  

And, since I arrived in China, I have been practicing yoga, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, running, and regularly going to the gym.

Regular fitness in China during pandemic
Pandemic China martial arts


The good thing is that in China, everyone willingly cooperates in preventing the spread of the virus. It is common for people to wear masks, accept temperature checks before entering any public places such as supermarkets, schools, and even gyms.

All schools are in person and classes are run normally, and no one wears a mask in the classroom unless they don’t feel well (like having the flu, BUT not presenting any Covid-19 symptoms).

To prevent any issues, we strictly follow the official authorities’ recommendations to better prevent the spread of the virus. Our classrooms are cleaned regularly, and windows are usually kept open to allow air to circulate.

As teachers, we have the responsibility to watch for any symptoms of Covid-19 and inform the school administration.

In China, teachers watch for any symptoms of Covid-19 and inform the school administration

Traveling within China 

Traveling within China is possible, but it is recommended to avoid non-essential journeys. When traveling within China, expect to scan a QR code before accessing subway stations, airports and train stations. I recently traveled from Guangzhou to Shenzhen via the Chinese high-speed train. 

Guangzhou to Shenzhen via the Chinese high-speed train

Public Parks

One thing I love in China is these beautiful parks. One of my favorites is the Guangzhou Lotus Hill, which I highly recommend for anyone visiting  Guangzhou. 

The Guangzhou Lotus Hill is one of the famous hills of the Pearl River Delta, located in the eastern part of Guangzhou, and has a beautiful landscape and is surrounded by a spectacular lake. 

Park - Guangzhou Lotus Hill, China


If you plan to visit China during the pandemic, ensure you contact your hotel before booking to confirm if your hotel can accept foreigners, as very few hotels can accept foreigners during this pandemic.

For example, after my quarantine, a hotel refused to let me stay when they found out I had just come from Canada. However, the hotel staff generously helped find a different hotel that accepts foreigners. 

In the picture, I had just been released from 3 weeks’ hotel quarantine. 

Just after release from 3 weeks' hotel quarantine in China

Overall, I found living and teaching in China during the pandemic very safe and relatively normal. However, with this Covid-19, everything changes rapidly. So if you plan to visit China, do your research and stay up-to-date with your government travel advisories for China, so you will know your rights and responsibilities while living and teaching in China, and who to contact in case of emergency.

Written by Altiné Mni for TEFL.net October 2021
Altiné is from Toronto, Canada, and currently teaches mathematics at a high school in Guangzhou, China. He has a master's degree in International Economics and Finance from Ryerson University in Canada and is passionate about helping people worldwide through his blogs. He writes about TEFL Teaching and Health and Fitness. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, running, traveling, and anything that allows him to experience the beauty of nature. You can find him at altinify.com.

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