Look who's teaching art

Who is Secondary the Monkey?
Posted on 06/01/2021

By Mark Dittmar

Here is a growing debate among students at Mountain View Elementary over the identity of Mr. Dittmar’s new assistant art teacher, Secondary the Monkey. Like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, some believe he is real, others do not.

“Secondary is too real!” said second graders, Katherine Ortiz and Karolyna Urias emphatically. “No, he’s not. He’s just a puppet that Mr. D makes talk,” countered their classmate Aydan Weatherbie. “No, he’s not. I saw him sing while Mr. D drank a glass of water!” said the girls. “He’s real!” weighed in Saul Martinez. “When he talks his voice is different than Mr. D’s.”

 “Dis is like crazy nuts, man,” said Secondary of himself in his classic NYC accent. “What ain’t real? I move, I talk, Bennie (his nephew) and me take Mr. D’s truck to Pet Smart. I even sing while he drinks water...but don’t tell nobody monkeys can sing. They’re already puttin’ us in zoos, ya know.”

Secondary (named for secondary colors) started helping Mr. Dittmar when District 35 began remote learning last November and has continued to make Mountain View his home. “I was looking for a way to make the weekly videos we offer to students who missed class more interesting,” said Mr. Dittmar. I never thought “my assistant” would become such a hit.

The monkey appears in recorded lessons that are standards based and run approximately 15 minutes. This allows viewers to pause or forward depending on their ability level. Each begins with a humorous skit that springboards into an art demonstration with the loveable monkey participating off-camera.

“I watch a lot of art videos, but they go so fast that you’re forever pausing them. In these, the pace is perfect. They’re great!” said retired Mt. View teacher and District substitute teacher, Ms. Kim Crowley.

So the question remains-is Secondary the Monkey real? You are invited to watch one of the videos on Mountain View’s Facebook page and decide for yourself:


But don’t be surprised if you can’t see Secondary’s lips move when he makes Mr. D talk!