(Full Disclosure: I am an unabashed Beatles fan.)
In August 1966, the world’s most famous Pop Band ceased performing live in public. This was not a swan song for the band by any measure. This was a band that gave new definition to “meteoric rise.” Million-selling hits, two successful films and relentless fame permeated the atmosphere of The Beatles. This little bar band from Liverpool defied all expectations with an exuberance that was contagious. Effortlessly standing on a collective zenith of fame and adulation, The Beatles quietly walked away from the mania.
Behind the scenes, The Beatles were in trouble. Their final tour was besieged with bad mojo. An ill-fated trip to the Philippines was marred by an unintentional snub of the First Lady. John Lennon’s remarks on Christianity fueled controversy. The band also felt that none of their recent, live performances were of any merit. They felt that their playing was sub par. They did not feel like their musical selves.
The band was anxious to explore new territory in the studio. Recent experiments in sound with albums such as “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver” ignited a spark of innovation within them. They were anxious to continue that collective exploration into the sonic frontier upon the conclusion of their final tour.
Many felt that the Beatle ride of glory was effectively over. Some elements of the press kicked The Beatles off the fame mountain. The echoes of the naysayers resonated as The Beatles entered Abbey Road Studios to begin work on what many consider their masterpiece: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
This particular album stands as the result of a strong musical vision sparked with a high level of collaboration and a growth mindset. The story of “Sgt. Pepper” stands as a litmus test for innovation, creativity and collective thinking.
I often yearn to be immersed in a creative ethos like The Beatles. I am not wanting to hitch a ride on the “Magical Mystery Tour” in this case. Instead, I want the innovative spirit of “Sgt. Pepper” to stand as the norm in education. In essence, I want to be in The Beatles.
What if every school strove to have a “Sgt. Pepper” approach to teaching and learning? How can we as a profession take bold steps against the status quo? What would a school look like if the vision was unified in innovative practices?
“Sgt. Pepper” is a creative collage of sounds. What if classrooms were launch pads for students and teachers to create their own collage of learning? There are many elements of innovation illuminating within the grooves of Twitter Chats, Voxer Groups, EdCamps, Flipped Faculty Meetings. There are movements to ditch desks, facilitate Mystery Skypes and integrate design thinking. These are giant steps towards uplifting the profession by doing what is best for our kids.
We have the opportunity to lock arms and join Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band as educators. Ours is the noble profession. We must underscore that nobility by valuing the time to collaborate and support each other as educators.
The Beatles felt a sense of urgency at a time when they we were in tune with their dominating complacency. As educators, we must tune into our own sense of urgency and dare to take giant steps to change. The Beatles surely did.
Let’s be The Beatles.