If you’re a teacher of any kind, with kids of any age, then you know an open-ended assignment can be something of a minefield. There’s no way to know where imaginations will take a kid, or what sort of dark home life they might have, but you’ve got to be prepared for anything.
That said, I’m not sure these 19 art teachers could have been ready for the assignments that resulted from them saying “draw anything you want.”
19. Kids are kids.
As a very young kid my favourite colour was black. Everything I drew was black.
I distinctly remember colouring an egg in (like a colouring book picture) black and calling it “blacky”.
According to my mum, people thought I had issues. I just liked the colour lmao.
I grew out of it, and my mum still has the first colour painting I brought home from school hung up on the wall.
Its a pink blossom tree.
18. What in the actual heck.
When I was in school to certify to become a teacher, we had a former principal as a professor for one of our courses who was trying to illustrate how difficult it can be to manage parent complaints and how to approach those situations with administration.
His example was how he had been called into a conference once with an angry mom and the elementary school art teacher. The mom was furious because the teacher had asked the children to close their eyes and draw whatever came into their imagination. His assumption was that a student had drawn something inappropriate. Nope.
The mom was mad because summoning an image in one’s mind was “witchcraft.”
17. You always ask!!
I will never forget the time that a very well-meaning teacher’s assistant approached me during an art day at Cub Scouts (I must have been 7 or 8) and talked to me about what I was drawing. It was just a simple landscape scene.
She asked “Oh and these are really cool, are they little flying animal things?” I stammered out “…those are clouds”. She just said “Oh” and then turned around and walked away really quickly.
That’s hilarious looking back on it, but in the moment I felt awful. Always had that in the back of my mind whenever I started to draw something.
16. A horrifying story.
I’ve had some really funny ones but this one is not and reminds me whenever I think of it to consider kids circumstances. I worked in a low income high immigrant population school. This girl was amazing; outspoken, kind, great grasp of English. She drew a picture of her brother and her. I asked her who else was in the picture since there appeared to be part of a 3rd person.
She calmly replied “That’s my brothers head; he was killed in our village right before we went to the refugee camp.” I look her up and down and say something sympathetic (masking my horror). “Yeah they came into my village grabbed all the boys and were going to take them away. My brother and his friend tried to run so they cut off his head. I was standing right there. Would you like me to draw you a picture?”
I said no thank you. I asked where her little brother, also in art class was, when this happened. “Oh we dressed him up like a girl. He makes a cute girl!”
I should mention before the above exchange we were talking about One Direction or something totally banal.
15. If only she was a better artist.
I was sitting with my friends, probably 4th grade. I thought it would be funny to draw someone pooping… it was a stick figure, with a banana shaped turd dangling from the “butt”. My friends were joking about poop, I thought we would all laugh, but instead they told on me.
I got in trouble from the teacher, and then after school had to go to my dad’s work, to get disciplined. Both my mom and dad asked me why I would draw something like that. I shrugged my shoulders and said I didn’t know…
Looking back, that drawing looked more like a d*ck than a banana turd… I bet that’s why I was in so much trouble.
14. There are no words.
It’s not drawing but I gave my high school kids a poetry assignment. They could write about anything that was school appropriate and have one curse word that wasn’t a slur or the f bomb. It had to include so much figurative language, ect.
Girl turns in “ms. [My name] is a bi*ch”, a poem about how she’s tired of writing poems and that she’s annoyed with me for assigning so many
Includes all requirements. I have her a 96 (a few errors) and the next poem she writes is “ms. [My name] is a cool bi*ch” about how she was sorry she was mean.
13. Please include the diaper.
I’m a 4th grade teacher and my kids decorate Valentine’s Day bags every year. I give them white bags and tons of valentines craft pieces and stickers, etc. I also tell them they can draw on them and it doesn’t have to be valentines as long as it’s school appropriate.
One of my kids (a little bit of your class clown, super sweet kid but talks like CRAZY) comes up to me and asks me “Missfox26, is drawing Cupid school appropriate?” I’m like “sure that’s fine” And he’s like “okay I just wanted to check because he’s naked except for a diaper”
I mean at least he checked and at least he wanted to include the diaper…
12. Poor guy.
I just remembered – a poor little guy who drew a self portrait.
He drew with meticulous detail and when it came down to drawing his pants he drew the zipper so carefully but it looked like a penis.
I was flummoxed about how to tell him that people might see something there that he didn’t intend.
11. Pooping butts are funny.
I had to call home because two seven year olds were drawing pooping butts in my art class once- their moms and I just laughed during the entire call.
10. Laziness King.
My brother was told to draw an animal from any angle he wanted so he drew a dot and said it was a very far away lion.
9. I bet their parents were so proud.
I work in a preschool. Recently we had a class of five year olds move on to Kindergarten, but during their last week they discovered the ultimate in humor; hand drawn pictures of brown circles labeled with the word “poop.”
They all took turns carefully drawing their art, and would take it to the little boy who was the best at spelling in order to be labeled, then they taped them up as decoration in their cubbies. I didn’t have the heart to punish them, even though the rule is “we only use bathroom words in the bathroom.”
Instead I took a picture and told them that they needed to take home their drawings if they wanted to keep them, because I would be throwing away what was left in the cubbies.
There wasn’t a single poop picture left behind when they had all gone home.
8. Teaching can be hard.
I was substitute teaching an art class an 8th grader drew a picture of an adult woman molesting a child. I pulled the student aside after class and found out her aunt had been molesting her for years when she was babysat or came to visit.
I reported it an her aunt ended up going to prison.
Kids will sometimes draw things they wouldn’t normally say out loud.
7. No regrets.
As a kid was told to do a drawing that was gonna be put on a plate, drew my cat doing a poo. I was asked multiple times if I wanted to redo it, I declined the offer. So most of my life I ate off a plate with my cat on it doing a poo as it was my plate, and still do.
My siblings had similar plate with a car and a rocket ship, mine is clearly much better.
Was around 5 or 6 at the time and totally worth it, still have the plate.
6. Of course it was.
In early middle school, we did a project where we used cardboard draped in colorful paper mache to make a sound-word, like ‘wham’ or ‘crinkle.’
I was really into knights at the time, so I made the word that was the sound of someone unsheathing a sword.
That word was ‘schlong.’
5. Bring in the clowns.
I have a “design your own monster” Halloween lesson. Most kids draw cute ghosts or cool vampires.
One 7th grader drew a sad clown… ummm, who was now romantically “involved” with a ceiling fan. Yes, he had issues.
4. She should have asked.
I got in trouble once for drawing a pooping butt. Little did my teacher know, but the drawing was actually a poorly drawn butterfly that ended up looking like a hairy pooping butt and when asked why I put the details I did like the legs and antenna and Proboscidea coming off the segmented body.
I said “I dunno, don’t they all look like that? I saw one a recess and thought it was pretty and wanted to draw it.” Thinking of the butterfly of course.
Nope, I ended up having to see the school counselor.
3. It’s as simple as that.
One kid had to have a meeting with the principal, her parents and the art teacher because the art teacher decided that because this second grade girl only drew people without hands, the little girl felt powerless.
All these adults question this child about the meaning of her drawings. She tells them, “Hands are too hard to draw.”
2. It’s not always a worst-case.
Yes! I worked at a summer day camp and one of the 4 year old kids drew something that looked remarkably like male genitalia and everyone panicked and parents.
Psychologists got involved and finally someone asked him what he drew he said “it’s a cannon! Look at it! It’s on wheels!”
1. You absolutely have to.
Parent here, not an art teacher. In Kindergarten, my son came home with a packet of finished assignments he got back from the teacher. One was a paper having them draw a body part with the prompt “Here are my…”. Example given was “feet”.
What did my kid draw? Butt cheeks. Drawing of the back of a person with two giant (well-drawn, I might add) cheeks.
My husband and I laughed our own butt cheeks off when we saw it. We kept the paper. For Posteriority.
Teachers have the best stories, because kids are hilarious.
Has something like this happened to you? Share the story with us in the comments!