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students start arriving as early as 5.45 a.m. If their parents
work in Bangkok then they have to be dropped off early. It is
still dark at this time and the students are not allowed to go
up to their classrooms. They wait in the front lobby where they
can watch cartoons on the television, play games on the touchscreen
computer or read school books. Most students won't start arriving
until about 7 a.m. If their classroom teacher has already arrived
by this time, they can go up to their classrooms.
students come by a variety of methods. By motorcycle, samlor and
car. A samlor is a three-wheeled bicycle taxi with a double seat
at the back for passengers. This is very cheap and usually costs
15-30 baht for most journeys (less than $1). A motorized version
is called a tuk-tuk and is used for longer journeys and is therefore
a little more expensive. The students also come together on a school
bus or if they live nearby, they walk to school. A few students
live on the other side of the river, so they use the ferry together
with local transport such as samlor or songtaew. A songtaew is a
pick-up truck with two rows of seats in the back. This only costs
a few baht and is the cheapest method to get around town.
students are helped across the road by the teachers who are on duty
for that day. The female teachers on duty have to wear a brown skirt.
At the front gate, the students must wai the duty teachers before
entering the school. They do this to show respect and also as a
form of greeting. A teacher does not 'wai' a student in return,
but they will wai each other in the morning and before they go home.
In every case, it's always the younger person who will wai their
senior first. To wai properly, a student should first put their
school bag down and then place their hands together in a prayer-like
gesture. The boys then raise their hands to about nose level and
bow slightly. The girls curtsey. After entering the front gate,
the students usually also wai the spirit house, Brahman shrine (see
picture) and the Buddha shrine.