“This is a Student Manifesto for positive change – the right to be valued and respected by our teachers, parents and educational leaders for what we can offer to improve public education. We want our stories to be heard in ways that make a difference, for students to feel comfortable about sharing what really happens in our everyday classes. We hope this book invites constructive feedback in both directions from teachers to students and students to teachers. Too Far From Perfect tells stories of great teachers and those not so great who need support to do things differently. It’s also about changing things in the system that get in the way of improvement.”
– Tai Notar, co-author
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Charles: Maybe I have been too involved as an advocate when the situations have required support; maybe your confidence would be even higher if I had stayed out of it. What do you think?
Tai: I disagree. More parents should get involved. When you have raised questions with teachers about a few things here and there and they responded positively, it showed me that most teachers want to be helpful and it gave me more confidence to take on things myself. Unfortunately, in talking with my friends, I think their parents are as scared about talking with teachers about how to improve things for their kids, as the kids are.
Too Far from Perfect is based on the reflections of a Toronto high school student about her learning journey from pre-school to grade 12. Through a dialogue with her father, educator Charles Pascal, Tai Notar describes the lessons learned about what has made the big difference to her learning and the educational aspirations of her peers. While Tai’s focus in on catching teachers and others doing things right, her narrative also calls attention to things that need to change. In this regard, Tai provides some provocative ideas about how public education can move closer to perfect. This father-daughter conversation is a must read for teachers and parents who believe that we need to listen more carefully to the authentic stories of our children and students.