Last night, I read my Grad Students one of my favorite books, Tacky the Penguin. This tale have been around for a long time; however, its message is one we all need to reflect on as we move through this busy and often stressful month of "wrapping up" the semester, the holiday season. and the year 2011.
School Library Journal (from Amazon) describes this book this way:
Tacky the Penguin is a total nonconformist who lives with a group of formal, proper penguins. But it is Tacky who foils the plans of three critters with ``get-rich-quick plans'' that threaten the penguins' existence. With his un-penguin-like antics, Tacky puzzles the hunters to such an extent that they're firmly convinced they cannot be in the ``land of the pretty penguins.'' .
My own take on this story is that Tacky is more than just an "odd" bird. He is purposely "pitted against" friends who work hard to live up to their names and reputations, Neatly, Orderly Perfect!,; yet, these ideal penguins are unable to solve problems when life doesn't go exactly like they planned.
The messages in this modern day fable are clear reminders that perfection is not an "end" nor a solution to problems. Perfection contributes to uniformity limiting creativity and individuality. It's possible that those of us who have struggled with being "different" or "lacking" in any way (and I suspect that is all of us) can relate to Tacky. As teachers, it's critically important that we embrace each of our students' differences and challenges - every day. It's a lifelong message we can model that will serve our students well no mater what they do in their lives.