Monkeys Out!

As much as I’ve talked about my experiences in the field of dog and cat servitude it is not my actual job; that involves a different animal altogether.

I work at a government run facility as a Small Primate Activities Coordinator.  There my fellow coordinators and I train (or attempt to train) and test groups of 20-25 young primates, sorted by age, who undergo years of such training for the betterment of society.

I’ve spent close to twenty years at the same facility, and during most of that time I have been responsible for primates in the 96-108 month age range.  During the working day I focus on training them skills such as basic mathematics and responding to verbal and visual cues.

Some years this training is more successful than others, and this has been a very good year!  Most of my primates are above expected norms for their age group and my supervisor thinks the results of the federally mandated testing they were subjected to earlier this year should be very good.  We will know by the beginning of the new training cycle.

The nice thing about this work is that it isn’t year round.  This is the last week of this training cycle, in fact my primates were released back into the wild on Thursday!  So with them gone, the facility can do some much needed maintenance, and my fellow coordinators and I can take time off to reflect on what worked during this training cycle, and prepare for the next.  We will also take this time to relax!  You would not believe how stressful it is to be isolated in a room with young primates all day!

But starting in early August the primates will be rounded up from the surrounding area again, the older ones assigned to a different facility, a new batch of 48-60 month olds will be introduced to our facility, the groups will be shuffled, and the whole process will start all over again.

Until then, my classroom is empty, and this 3rd grade teacher is ready for summer vacation!

Monkeys Out!

4 thoughts on “Monkeys Out!

  1. Maggie says:

    So, so, so funny!!! Congrats on making it to the end of another school year! I bet your little herd loves summer break and having you home!

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    1. They were quite excited this morning when they saw me putting on a tee shirt (typical dog park wear) instead of a button down (typical work wear). Unfortunately for them, I have a clean up day at ‘The Facility’ and dressed sloppy for the occasion!

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  2. What a cool and fascinating job I’m sure. I’d love to walk in your shoes for a day.

    When you say primates, are they mostly monkeys and gorilla? Or have you ever gotten any Bonobo’s?

    You’ve definitely got a new reader. I love your style, I’m LOVING your Blog Paws Conference recap and now I find out you work with primates… That’s awesome! 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much! The job has its moments, and its annoyances. Most of my guys throughout the years have been pretty well behaved, but every so often you get one who is an agent of chaos. One year, I had four of those in the class for the whole year…. Things have gotten better since then!

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