megans blanketWhen I was in 3rd grade, my mother got called in for a parent-teacher’s conference.

I was a doodler. During a normal school day, this wasn’t normally a problem as I would doodle on a blank piece of paper or on the shopping bag cover of my school book.

During spelling test time, my doodling became a problem. The hardest part of the spelling test for me was that we were only allowed to have our pencil and 1 sheet of paper out on the desk. I had nowhere to doodle. So, I would doodle on my spelling test. My S would have lots of curly-spirals. I would have flowers dotting my eyes. My ts would look like handlebar mustaches.

My 3rd grade teacher found this unacceptable and called my mother in to talk with her about it. My teacher threatened that the next spelling test I doodled on, she would put a failing grade on it and reject it.

Despite the chaos that was happening in our house, my mother was very protective of us to the outside world. She asked my teacher what I had scored on my tests for that year. If it wasn’t 100% correct, it was pretty close. I was a pretty good speller – I would probably never have made it to the National Spelling bee – but, given all the reading I did a list of 10 3rd grade spelling words wasn’t a big deal.

My mother basically told the teacher that it was her fault I was bored and that’s why I was doodling. And, that given that it was her fault, she needed to learn to accept the doodling or find a way for me to be less bored.

While it was the last I heard about it from the teacher, it definitely had an impact on me. Since then, I’ve always felt somewhat embarrassed about my “art” — even hesitating to call my creative pursuits art.


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