Earlier this week, I shared an early morning picture from Creve Couer Lake taken while on a quick jog along Marine Avenue. Alone in my thoughts, I spotted an enormous flock of geese in the water close to the sand. The geese glided past each other in the water are North American Canadian Geese. They are amazing to watch as they fly together with their instinctual behavior as a species is breathtaking to witness. Plus, their actions relate so well to the work we embark on as educators. When geese migrate, they can travel as far and as long as 2,000 – 3,000 miles and can travel up to 1,500 miles in a day (according to American Expedition). If you have looked towards the sky during their migrations, you will see geese fly in a V-formation. This tactic has two purposes. First, the V-shape helps conserve energy and second, the V-formation supports the ability to have consistent communication and coordination among all the geese in flight. Similar to fighter pilots in the military, our aviators align for mutual defense and to concentrate their strength.
Furthermore, when geese gather and prepare for ascension, they fly in the same direction, same speed, and then instantly, the whole group changes direction at the same time. The coordination and timing of this action involves incredible precision. Imagine if they were not in lock-step? Mid-air disaster. A motivational speaker (Andy Frisella) believes this type of accuracy is called “collective consciousness.” He described how geese move, adjust, and change direction quickly because they have a clear understanding of where they are going and why. During difficult times in schools and leadership, I reflect on my aspirations for our school and community to have a collective consciousness for our values, traditions, and how we treat/work with one another.
Now more than ever, every person is and will be impacted by the next individual. With the separation between in-person and virtual students and staff members in a variety of circumstances, every decision or personal choice will result in an impact on the entire system. As a school community and building, we must ask ourselves, what am I willing to do for the person next to me? Each person in our system has a family, people who depend on them, burdens they carry, and various silent pains. As coronavirus continues to ravage our nation, its impact on our schools threw us into quarantines, unfilled teaching positions, and young people struggling with a variety of social-emotional and academic needs. Both examples are detrimental to consistency, especially if there is not a unifying force or mindset.
In my earlier example, geese have a collective consciousness among them because of their shared goals and shared responsibility in flight. We can surmount any challenge by trusting the process and lean toward creating a collective consciousness for empathy, support, and selflessness.
Like a flock of geese…
Always moving in the same direction…