Saturday, March 4, 2017

Stay focused and move forward with a Pilot's Mindset

There are many mindsets in education: fixed mindset, growth mindset, pirate mindset and innovator's mindset. How about a pilot's mindset?

I will assume someone has already jumped on this type of mindset and there is probably already a book about it. This post is writing blindly not having come across any of these writings at this point.

The inspiration for this blog occurred when I noticed a familiar phrase to pilots of Aviate, Navigate and Communicate. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses this phrase of priorities for pilots in command to use in time of emergencies.

A.N.C. is used to stay focused and remember to navigate the plane.

Sometimes we get caught up in something and forget to fly the plane which has devastating results. Aviate means to maintain control. Navigate is to be clear on where you are and where you want to go. Communicate refers to all stakeholders needing to be aware of the plans and needs. All stakeholders are needed to ensure the success of the journey.

ANC is something we all could use to help stay focused on our journey for doing what is best for all students to reach a desired destination.

Schools and airplanes have similarities as a vehicle to take people on a journey to a desired destination.

The need for a highly qualified and caring team.

Schools and airplanes require highly qualified personnel to be in control because the journey must be safe and the destination is nonnegotiable.

It takes a team of trained and caring people to reach a goal successfully for a large number of people on the journey. Some passengers need more accommodations than others.

The need for fuel.

We will not forget to mention the amount of money it takes to run these vehicles to make this journey happen successfully. We need to feed the machine so it keeps running successfully and keep up with updates and changes. Programs, equipment, furniture, technology, salaries, and benefits are very costly. Both vehicles are being forced to be innovate by thinking within the box as there is never enough fuel.

The need for an alternative route.

If a chosen route isn't working it is ok to have an alternative route. It is ok to dump something if it isn't taking you on the route intended. Don't continue a path blindly if you know it isn't working. John Hughes wrote the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles because he personally experienced a difficult time getting to Chicago from New York where a one day trip supposedly lasted five. We need to continually reflect on if what we are doing is indeed the best route toward the intended destination.

The destination is non-negotiable.

Passengers choose where they want to go. Pilots do not get to choose anything different. We want students to be productive contributing members of society. Changing what we do or adding programs is not good if it does not take us to the intended purpose or destination. If and when we take off and pursue something new it needs to be with purpose. It needs to take us to the desired outcome for the students.We need to remember that take off is not mandatory. Do not leave if it doesn't take us where we want to go.

The need to take risks. 

Journeys will have some disturbances along the way. We need to stay focused and proceed cautiously deciding what is best for the passengers, not just about what is best for us. Clouds and storms can be risky to enter, but make sure the probability of success for students is on the other side when we take that risk.

Stay ahead of the game.

As we move along in our journey, we must always have the destination in mind. We do not reach an end point in education as we are to always grow, but it is imperative that we stay focused. We need to be aware of the world around our vehicle. We need to know the needs along the way. We need to be ready to adapt to the changes of "weather". The best flights are not ones that are run on autopilot.

We need to stay focused.


Schools must continually move forward and not accept status quo.


We must continually reflect on our direction for students and ensure it will take us to a desired goal for students.


We need to remember that it takes a team working together to do what is best. It doesn't happen working alone on an island. All stakeholders need to be working toward the same goal so it needs to be clearly seen, heard, and visible at all times. What is the destination if everyone is working toward a different direction?
Created by @vrzemaitis using @Canva

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