Many Global English TESOL trainees from across the world kindly responded when we asked them to share stories on their lives in the midst of the pandemic. In our first article, Ed Beale shared his story of lockdown life in Vermont, USA. Below, we hear from some of our trainees in the Philippines, the UK, France and Australia.
Where are you in the world and how are you impacted?
I am from Quezon City, Philippines. The most populous city in Metro Manila so we have the highest statistics - in terms of number of cases, recoveries and deaths in the country.
There is a community-wide lock-down which has been extended to April 30. Schools, office and other establishments are closed and residents are strictly mandated to stay home unless they need to buy food and medicine or unless they are medics.
… The latest new here is DIY face masks. It will be compulsory here in France and possibly globally. Having to wear them if you leave your house for the grocery store, medical supplies, walking your dog. There are many ideas how to make them at home going around the internet. I think this is a positive approach and preventative for our health and wellbeing and for others.
We have a community lock down in Sydney and there are lots of restrictions but you can still go out for exercise (solo or in pairs but not in groups) and shop for essential items. You can still get takeaways. Public transports are still operational. Most of the beaches are closed though ☹ which makes us really sad because, although it’s autumn here, on some days it’s still warm and it would be nice to lay on the beach and go for a quick swim.
I live in London (zone 3) with my wife and two children. The UK is in lockdown. I have a lot of FREE TIME. However, my 4 year old daughter misses her school a lot, so we are doing some home tuition as well as parenting.
One of us only goes out to the local supermarket or pharmacy for essentials. I am very cautious and adamantly follow the social distancing rule whilst wearing a mask and gloves.
How is your community reacting?
Many low-income Filipinos are project-based or contract workers, hence, no work means no pay. The local governments can only do so much with daily household-rationing of food and basic needs and a small stipend. It is challenging. Local celebrities and businesses are helping by donating food, medicine, masks, face shields, segregation tents etc. They also provide transportation to medical front-liners to get to their places of work. Some citizens help provide food to those manning the checkpoints as well.
As humanity, we are being forced to take a deep look into our own individual psyche, and make change on a conscious level. This is our ‘wake up call’ as a human race, collectively, as a global community. Covid-19 has affected, each and every one of us around the world, in some way, either through our health, self isolating, blocked from traveling, being without our loved ones or shut way from our every day lives. This pandemic is not selective and travels across the global spectrum, to the young or old, middle aged, rich or poor, those trying to survive day by day and those just comfortably surviving day to day. We’ve been perpetually, running on our hamster wheel, asleep.
It seems that most people are struggling with isolation and the restrictions. I feel sorry for the elderly because families can’t visit them and those without families have to do grocery shopping which is risky.
My major worry is that my elderly parents are alone and have underlying health conditions but I cannot see them properly. However, I do whatever I can like their shopping and my wife cooks them some dinner.
What about your plans to teach English?
It poses a temporary block to my plans to teach English onsite overseas. Restrictions on the entry of foreigners might be put in place as well and visa-issuance might be limited too.
I’ve had phone interviews in the past days with companies hiring to teach English online to Chinese students. I have not committed because I still want to go back to teaching on-site.
I’m currently also learning French, improving my ‘parle Francais’ online. My goal is to finish my TESOL within the next two weeks.
It reinforces my interest to teach English online which I'm hoping I will be able to do soon!
Initially my plan was to teach English online so nothing changed in that respect. If I had any inclination about teaching face to face I will certainly not go ahead with it.
In this current crisis, what things are making you smile?
Already, nature is showing a brilliant display of colors. Skies and seas are clearer and bluer. Plants are greener. Flowers are a vivid red, orange, yellow, purple, and pink. Seas are a magnificent blue. The air is cleaner.
I am grateful to be alive at a time like this. And I continue to do my part as a medical front-liner and responsible citizen to help flatten the curve at the soonest time possible.
I'm glad to be in the countryside and not stuck in an urban environment in a small apartment, or blocked in another country away from home. Some of us are very lucky indeed to be where we are, being healthy and safe.
Sending an old friend a text message or email. I could sense that they truly appreciate the fact that somebody thought of them and made an effort to send a message.
Seeing a lady wearing a white dress with two wings on her two sides. Her angel dress made me smile from within.
Thank you for responding with your stories and helping us to connect together at this time. We hope you and your families stay safe and well.
You might also like:
Colleen has written a blog on her experiences in lock-down in France (from which part of the above is taken), which you can read here.
Read Ed Beale’s article of the impact of COVID-19 on his home town in the USA.
Jessica Jacob on lockdown across continents.
Our support for our trainees struggling with the impact of the coronavirus.
Will COVID-19 mean the end of face to face teaching? William addresses this in his blog here.
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