Characterised by their behaviour, the Monkey Boys operate in a herd formation, claiming the territory of the back left of the classroom.
It’s not difficult to spot a Monkey Boy. When the class is asked to take out their notebooks and pens, a distinct patch of students will remain book-less and pen-less. “Mai mee teacher, mai mee…” (I don’t have it, teacher…). Scraps of paper are pulled from back pockets and uncrumpled to make a start at taking notes. They will probably manage the date.
Monkey Boys like to monkey around. A lot of the time it’s fun, even for the teacher. You can play on it, grabbing them as they swing past to use them for an example conversation or to demonstrate something. They enjoy high energy games although they often don’t quite grasp the actual concept of the competition. Occasionally the monkeying around can go too far, and you have to reprimand them – but the cheeky grin on their faces makes it hard to follow through with any discipline.
Monkey Boys like to disrupt their more studious counterparts, throwing plastic bottles at the back of Keen Bean girls’ heads or stealing pencils. Playground stuff. They also like to try and lure the Buffalo Boy into their antics, convincing him to do things while they watch on in glee.
Back in the UK these are the boys that I would be working with as a youth worker. These are the boys who would be given behavioural assessments, the school searching for an explanatory reason for their monkeying around be it dyslexia, ADHD, or some disorder on some spectrum that would allow the school to separate them from the mainstream education. They would be placed in what is usually named something like ‘the hub’ where they can be offered a watered down curriculum padded out with life skills and trips to the fire station. But not in Thailand. These boys are simply left to their own devices in the back left of the classroom. With 45 other students to take care of, sometimes it is much easier for everyone to leave them to monkey around while the lesson continues at the front of the class. At least they inject some energy into the classroom!