Lessons from Geese adopted for Teachers

FACT 1:
As each goose flaps its wings it creates uplift for the birds that follow. By flying in a V formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
LESSON:
Educators who share a common direction and sense of community with their students can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.

FACT 2:
When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
LESSON:
If instructors remain open to the needs of their students they can stay in formation with those headed where they want to go. We must be willing to provide help and support in their journey.

FACT 3:
When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
LESSON:
We the faculty must always remember, it pays to take turns doing the hard work and sharing leadership. As with geese, we are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.

FACT 4:
The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
LESSON:
We need to make sure our honking is always encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement (to stand by ones heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) that is the quality of honking we seek.

FACT 5:
When a goose gets sick, wounded or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with the goose, until it dies or is able to fly again. Then they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
LESSON:
If we as educators have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong. We will honor and protect the needs of our students as well as our colleagues.
Adopted and revised from a speech by Angeles Arrien at the 1991 Organizational Developmental Network

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