Art Teachers – Squashing Genius

I visited a friend this morning and noticed a really cool new sculpture sitting on her shelf. It was an asymmetrical house with deep blue exterior walls, random windows through which red interior walls shown through – the roof was multi-hued brown and umber – very cool. I asked her where she got such a fabulous piece.

Her son made it, she said, and then asked “would you tell him you like it because he got a C and didn’t want me to display it.”

This set me off – who do these damn art teachers think they are? The color coordination and contrast, the windows, the roof were very wabi sabi – organic in flow and visually appealing. Much more interesting than if it had been symmetrical and boxy. But I guess he/she couldn’t see that.


Blue House S.M. copyright 2008

In my opinion high school, middle school and elementary school art teachers are responsible for killing the creative spark in countless children. Son No. 2 drew the most fantastic and creative stories and pictures until his 3rd grade art teacher threw a cat he had created for a school mural into the garbage, IN FRONT OF HIM, because the proportion was off.

He stopped drawing that day and I have never forgiven her.

Art should be a joyful expression for children. It shouldn’t be graded at all.

Please enjoy this gallery of scribblings from Son No. 2 titled:

Things My Son Drew for Me

Before His Third Grade Art Teacher Killed His Spirit

Cat: marker and white out on legal pad – date unknown but definitely before third grade


Pointillism: water color on construction paper – date unknown but, again, definitely before third grade



4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Pammy Girl
    Feb 07, 2008 @ 23:31:43

    I had a few English teachers in jr. high and high school try to tell me that I couldn’t write. When I told them that I had already been published, they told me I was lying and accused me of plagiarism. One told me that she didn’t think I was smart enough to take AP English; I told her she could expect a phone call from my father. Another gave me an ‘F’ on a research paper because of my illegal use of commas, semi-colons, and hyphens. My father (who is a professor) gave my paper to the English Department chair at his university who wrote: “This teacher should be shot.”

    Go figure… I majored in journalism and am now a writer. Some teachers don’t know what the hell they’re talking about and then just suck the life force out of children’s futures. Thank God my father went to bat for me ever single time I had issues with one of the English “teachers”.


  2. fivehusbands
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 00:03:41


    Thank goodness for your dad – there was a piece in the New York times a few weeks ago on the tension between education and innovation and if I weren’t so damn ADD I would have saved the link so I could quote it correctly and then use it in my cover letters. The gist of the article was that structured education can limit intelligence/inquiry. The whole inside the box thinking thing.

    When I was in my late 20’s – I already had a master’s degree but I hated what I was doing and I was depressed. I went to a psychologist to be evaluated – including IQ tests – to figure out what I should pursue.

    He told me essentially factory work/housewifery was my talent. Luckily I never listened – a few years later I went to law school and, despite working almost full time and being a single mom, I did law review and graduated with honors.

    It pays to ignore conventional wisdom sometimes.


  3. pamajama
    Feb 12, 2008 @ 14:27:08

    I love this entry because it’s so true! My son’s kindergarten teacher made me come into the classroom to point out that his pilgrims were colorful instead of black and brown. She was so totally pissed that he did not follow directions.

    Don’t even get me started on gym teachers!!!

    What sense is there in giving an art project a C??? It’s about the ART!


  4. fivehusbands
    Feb 12, 2008 @ 14:49:23

    So I am debating sending my post to the third grade art teacher in question – seriously. When it happened he wouldn’t let me call. He was afraid she would take it out on him; but now – he is a junior – she should know.


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