Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Honk Honk

After hearing about how we should be like geese, I decided to do some research and see for myself what was involved in being a goose.

The first thing I came across was the old French proverb:

It is a stupid goose that listens to a fox preach.
Are teachers stupid for listening to administrators preach?

Then I read that Canadian geese drop two to four pounds of excrement a day and create major health problems. They are also extremely noisy.

I also found a bunch of goose meanings here. I decided to just copy a few.

A stupid and inane woman is called "un'oca" (a goose) in Italian as well.

Geese are also "stupid" in idiomatic expressions of German: "dumme Gans - stupid goose": the meaning is "silly/stupid woman". This seems to go back to classical fables - or at least German Wiki lists geese as (supposedly) stupid acording to fables tradition, without reference to a particular fable.

Proverbial behaviour tends to be given to familiar creatures, and geese will have been extremely common and familiar from early times. So this makes them a target for having some sort of attribute assigned to them, and they may not need to be outstandingly stupid for this quality to be associated with them. It's possible that it is simply to do with how they look, move (they are somewhat ungainly on the ground) and some of their behaviours that make them seem comic or ridiculous, rather than unintelligent per se. (They may be fairly intelligent as domesticated birds go, but that's not really saying a great deal.) In English, words like "giddy" and "silly" often accompany proverbial mentions of geese, and perhaps stupidity as such is a perhaps unfair extension of this.In Pulleyn's Etymological Compendium (early 19th c.) the writer (unlike Johnson) finds it self-evident that geese are stupid. He says he only includes them to give examples showing they are not always stupid, which seems self-defeating as an entry in an etymology, but there you go.

Also in Swedish, geese are stupid. I haven't found any particular fables, either, depicting geese as stupid, but it seems to be an widespread European It does exist in Hungarian: hülye liba (stupid goose) idea.

(I guess I am not a big fan of metaphors)


Schoolgal said...

ROTFL!!! Don't you just feel the love and respect with that comparison??

That quote about the stupid goose listening to a fox preach is the best!!

Anonymous said...

oh my....
who in the world in their right mind compare the faculty to geese.

Anonymous said...

more for you to see:
of the Goose

Schoolgal said...

Ya know Anon 7:10 or is it "Mr. Admin", if one wanted those qualities discussed, he/she could have put it in better terms than "a goose".

If one wants to inspire their staff, geese references would not be at the top of the list. But I think it is also disrespectful to imply teachers are "leaving their children behind". GW Bush shoved that line on us, and his plan backfired. Many states including Republican governors have tried to get waivers from those ridiculous mandates.

Just a thought...why not give the staff the ability to collaborate and help form policy instead of shoving goose droppings down their mouths??

However, I do agree with one attribute....going South for the winter. I think every teacher should get a free trip courtesy of our billionaire mayor.

Anonymous said...

Schoolgal, do you even know how the geese analogy was made or what context it was used?

Anonymous said...

So sound as if you were there and therefore should answer your own question.

I do know this...had the analogy been encouraging, PoD would have said so. So something was missing in the message.

If the message was the need to support struggling students, then I hope the message also offered ways the admin could be like geese too by making sure teachers have the means of support needed to reach goals. Making classes overcrowded or not placing students correctly would indeed harm the struggling geese.

As a former staff developer, had I attended a workshop where someone threw the geese analogy at me and asked me to bring it to the teachers, I would refuse. Why? Because any presentation should be what the teachers bring to the table--bottom up never top down.


Pissed Off said...

I hate to say this but anonymous is right. The message was meant to be positive, not negatively directed at anyone, particularly teachers.

I just didn't like being told to be like geese, no matter how positively the message was meant.

Sorry for the confusion and apologies to all.

Ms. Ponzi said...

I personally prefer getting "goosed" than being compared to a goose.

Schoolgal said...

I think I understood the message was meant to be positive...but I also think if you are going to pick an animal that also has negative attributes then pick another example.

Yes I suppose I would have liked some more background info since this post came on the heels of your Satan post.

Pissed Off said...

The Satan post was on a totally different topic. Anonymous probably has no access to that blog.

Anonymous said...

Schoolgal from what I heard, this is what I guess was said @ the faculty conference:

Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “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: People who share a common direction and sense of community 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 we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.

Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.

Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people 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 honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) 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 it 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 have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.

Pissed Off said...

Anonymous--you must have been a fly on the wall at that meeting. You got it exactly as it was given.

Schoolgal said...

Anon was more than just a fly on that wall. Now should I be comparing Anon to a fly??

Okay, I will admit to being a "silly goose" and like the lesson as long as whoever spoke this message means that school policies are formed by the cooperative rather than an individual.

I am a big believer in collaboration. But if the message is to follow the "mission statement" that was formulated by the head goose instead of the flock, I would have a problem with that.

How do you feel about that philosophy Anon??

Anonymous said...

I agree wholeheartedly. Somewhere there is a fly with a smile on his face. :)

Pissed Off said...

I want and try to believe but when I am not known as POd, I am known as skeptic and my middle name is doubtful. Being burnt for so many years makes it hard to forget the heat and even harder to trust completely.