The school does have several advantages over many rural schools I have visited during my time in Myanmar. Let me take this chance to talk briefly about the second advantage I listed. Many schools, both government and private, have more than one class per room. At R.E.C, each class of children has a separate room. However, there are no real walls and the flimsy bamboo only rises half way up the trunks that form beams. As we watch the lesson progress, it becomes harder to concentrate or hear as the grade 7 English class that is 3 feet away from us starts loudly chanting lessons by heart.
The grade 8 students did actions which corresponded to the three words written on the board, and all looked quite promising for the rather wild 5 minutes of activity as the floor and walls shook around us under the weight of 20 monkeys and elephants.
It took almost an hour for the teacher to even address the back group of ‘bad’ students. This was not what we had hoped for at all. Even though I knew that we had a lot of work ahead and I knew that the class in front of me was to be expected, I did have higher hopes. The lesson was boring with no structure and too much local language. When the students were set a writing task at the end of class, there was no monitoring from the teacher and as soon as the children had finished they were allowed to come over to Van and I without the teacher really checking if they had been accurate in their work; only that something had been scribed onto a page in their book.
NEH Coordinator and Teacher Trainer