Back in Shan State’s Tat Ein village, the summer break had just started by the time I arrived, thus there were no classes being held at the primary school. But that didn’t stop all classroom activity! While the teachers were away, some of the kids decided to take over the classroom and have some fun of their own one afternoon.
In case you were expecting tales of wanton mischief, a graffiti party or vandalism, nothing of the sort occurred. Basically, the kids — mostly novice monks and other male students — were well behaved; goofy as could be, but never out of control. About the wildest thing I witnessed was one novice monk playfully threatening another monk with a long measuring stick.
And yes, those novice monks — known as ko yin in these parts — were clearly having a great time playing teacher and hamming it up. The younger monks also take classes here when school is in session, so the room was a familiar place for them. Some of the more restrained boys stayed in their seats and watched the action, while the more mischievous ones ran around and dreamed up more silly photo ideas.
Meanwhile, a group of girls was gathered in the back of the classroom, distancing themselves from the notorious ko yin and waiting for a lull in the action, hoping the monks would cease their nutty ways long enough for them to get their picture taken too. Happily, that’s just what happened!