Literature Teacher in Ang Thong Puts on a Show for Online Classes

Vanida Sayawong teaches her fifth-grade students online in Ang Thong in a video posted to her Facebook on Jan. 23, 2021.

ANG THONG — While the rest of the world languishes in ratty Tshirts and sweatpants for Zoom calls, a teacher in the central province of Ang Thong does not dabble in such half-measures.

For her online classes, Vanida Sayawong, who teaches Thai literature to fifth-graders, goes as far as donning a full Thai dance costume with multiple elaborate masks and headgear.

“See, I can dress up like this because I’m at home. I can’t wear this to school. I need to let it out and wear this,” Vanida said to her students while teaching online. She posted a video of her teaching to her Facebook on Saturday.

Vanida teaches at Wat Ton Son Municipal 1 School. Her parents are theater troupe owner and a piphat band member. Vanida participated in the troupe as she grew up, and eventually graduated in Thai dance.

While teaching online at home, she eyed her mother’s old lakorn chatri sets and costumes in front of a house and decided to use them to spice up her lessons on the Sang Thong folktale.

Schools remain closed in 28 provinces since the shutdown was announced in early January amid a second wave of COVID-19 outbreak.

Although the government is set to ease a number of restrictions, there is no plan to reopen schools on the horizon.

Vanida, standing, with her family’s collection of theater masks.
Vanida, standing, with her family’s collection of theater masks.