Don’t Know Their Own Monkey-Business

, , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2018

(I teach seventh- and eighth-grade science. Our local zoo is reopening the exhibit that houses monkeys, apes, and other similar animals. There is a special open house for teachers. Immediately after school, I pick up my three-year-old at daycare and head off to the zoo. We enter the exhibit and come to the spider monkeys. My son asks what they are. Before I can answer, [Teacher #1] says:)

Teacher #1: “Those are spider monkeys, honey.”

(She and [Teacher #2] seem to be pacing us. At the next exhibit:)

Teacher #2: “Look, honey, those are mandrills, like in The Lion King.”

(At the next window:)

Teacher #1: “Those are orangutans. They look like orange men.”

(We get to the next window. The animals inside are clearly eager to see people and hang from the glass in front of my son.)

Teacher #2: “Look, honey, see the monkey?”

(My son has decided he’s had enough of these women.)

Son: “No. That’s not a monkey. That’s a lemur. He’s a ring-tail lemur. That one is a ruffed lemur.”

Teacher #1: “No, that’s a monkey. Let’s see if I can find out what kind it is.”

Me: “It’s a lemur, not a monkey. He’s right.”

Teacher #2: “Oh, this sign says they are not monkeys. They are lemurs.”

Teacher #1: “He needs to learn not to correct teachers.”

Me: “Teachers need to learn to not tell kids wrong information.”

(They were very offended as they stormed off.)

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