It just so happens that I was born on the day and in the year that The Beatles released their final studio album. The “Let It Be” Album stands as my favorite Beatles album for many reasons. The fact that I share a birthday with the final bow of The Beatles as a band in their lifetime makes it even more poignant.
The dissolution of The Beatles in 1970 was a cultural event and it made global headlines. Their break-up was the result of many reasons from financial to personal. They had simply outgrown each other and were ready to forge individual paths. The break-up was very public and bitter. For the next ten years, John, Paul, George and Ringo were hounded and pressured to reunite. There were a few close calls for a reunion but all of that reunion speculation came to an end when John Lennon was murdered in 1980.
Surprisingly in 1994, the surviving Beatles reunited in the studio for “The Beatles Anthology,” a documentary they were producing on the history of the band. Putting aside years of acrimony and bitterness, they reunited and recorded two brand-new songs.
Somehow the Impossible was made Possible because not only did the three surviving Beatles reunite they were also able to include John Lennon in the event.
Taking two rough demos John Lennon recorded before his death, the newly reformed Beatles added music, lyrics and vocals. The songs are entitled “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love.” Both songs were worldwide hits and received Grammy Awards. It was quite an innovative practice and it was arduous in terms of the technical and musical demands of the reunion project. Somehow the world got a Beatles Reunion amidst seemingly impossible odds.
I share this anecdote not as a proud music geek, but as someone who works in a school where we embrace the Impossible. Ours is a school where we proudly register students who have been retained at some point in their academic year. My school is seen as a haven for students who want a smaller class size and a caring teacher. The school where I am the proud Lead Learner is cast on a list of Title I Schools with poor achievement test scores. Despite all of those negative odds, ours is the school that exceeds achievement growth, possesses one of the highest increases in our district’s graduation rate and overpowered our $500, 000 college scholarship goal to almost $900, 000. Most importantly, the students at the school where I stand proudly as a servant-principal feel connected, safe and loved. In a way, I feel as if I am working with The Beatles. I believe that our school will exit Title I Priority School Status and stand as a true testament to an authentic turnaround.
Daily I strive to overcome the Impossible just like the surviving Beatles did with that battered, hiss-filled cassette of an unfinished John Lennon song. I am nowhere near the musical talent of The Beatles and what they accomplished with those 1994 Reunion Sessions.
How might we embrace the Impossible collectively as educators? Sometimes there is a negative default to those who stare the Impossible down and pursue seemingly absurd quests in the service of students. This mindset is sadly evident in our noble profession as educators. There are daily stories of #EduHeroes in schools everywhere overpowering the Impossible and creating a new paradigm of possibilities for our kids. We have to spread the sparks of those #EduHeroic Stories from the rooftops within social media venues and beyond. We have to value each victory over the Impossible in the schoolhouse as we did with The Beatles Reunion of 1994.
There are many variables to plug into as exemplars of the Impossible in the Schoolhouse. I invite the conversation to address and define them. Our challenge as educators is not to give permission for the Impossible to flourish. We do give too much power to the Impossible. Sometimes we have to take the time to recognize that the Impossible has morphed into the Possible. Taking stock of those examples such as The Beatles reuniting can spark inspiration into action.