Every year in China, more than 70% of the 40,000 foreign English teachers trek home to their families in America, Canada, and U.K. for Christmas vacation and return back to their Chinese classrooms after Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). It was no different last year in 2019, except before 2020 arrived, we were all hearing the grim news about a new medical crisis in Wuhan that came to be known as the Corona Virus Pandemic or more recently as the COVID 19 Pandemic.
When the borders subsequently closed all over the world, over 800,000 Foreign Expat teachers were treated to an extended vacation including the 25,000 from China. Now that the Chinese students have returned to their classrooms, their teachers are still locked out, and those that remained in China over the holidays now enjoy huge pay raises as they have the leverage they never ever had before. Jason K. who teaches at large chain school renegotiated his contract from 20,000 rmb per month (roughly $4,000) to 28,000 rmb and was given a free furnished apartment he didn't have before, an $800 monthly value.
This Pandemic blessing has been affecting TEFL teacher's salaries all over the world as you can see on the salary charts on page 5 here: https://www.docdroid.net/62qeqhq/cftunewsletter120-pdf. The economics 101 law of supply and demand has played out quite favorably for the teachers, if they can reclaim their jobs when the borders reopen.
But before you all decide to jump on a plane and suddenly become TEFL teachers in China you have to ask yourself if you qualify as explained here https://www.china-briefing.com/news/china-work-permits-are-you-a-b-c-tie....
And are you ready, willing, and able to fully comply with all these strict mandatory requirements of the Chinese government, and go through a 14 day quarantine upon arrival in China? https://english.www.gov.cn/services/workinchina/
Yes, the money is good, and the Chinese food is tasty and cheap, but as Jason told us, because of trade war tensions, his once friendly Chinese neighbors have been giving him the cold shoulder for months, and when socializing at local Chinese pool halls and sports bars, he is beginning to overhear "Laowai bu hao" (No good foreigner). Even the parents of his Chinese girlfriend is now pressuring her to break up with him.
The Pandemic has changed the world indeed, and like most Americans, our Chinese friends and colleagues also miss the "normal" we all once shared in our own and shared worlds. There is certainly more money to be made, but far less laughter and smiles in China, and most everywhere else.
As the father of Education, Confucius once said two thousand years ago, "Money cannot buy happiness". The Pandemic salary blessing for Foreign TEFL teachers comes with an uncomfortable trade off. We all hope that East-West relations will normalize after the elections, no matter who is elected. Those wanting to know more about working abroad may want to visit
https://ruqqus.com/+Expats or https://ruqqus.com/+TEFL Sometimes the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, but sometimes the novelty of an international job, just makes life more exciting and interesting. But for now, we all miss our young and diligent Chinese students and hope to see them again soon!