Van and I assumed our position at the back of the cold classroom. Each classroom is where the students learn, sleep and socialize. This is evident from the rack of brightly colored fleece blankets suspended above us on a hanging rack and in the corners of the room out of the way for daytime.
Each child had a collection of brightly colored fleece items on their body as their morning breath comes out in puffs. Each child except the oldest member; the 15 year old. He sits at the back shivering as the first rising tendrils of sun glance through the half-height bamboo wall. How the child can concentrate I don’t know. I have a down-filled shiny French style bin bag coat wrapped tight around my frigid body and I still wish for more layers.
The school does have several advantages over many rural schools I have visited during my time in Myanmar. 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.
NEH Director of Studies and Teacher Trainer
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