There is a wonderfully poignant scene in Ron Howard’s documentary on The Beatles entitled “Eight Days a Week.” Paul McCartney is sharing the first time all four members of the band played together. As McCartney recalls the first time they played together as a a unit, he calls it an “Oh, My God Moment.” He describes the moment from when Ringo kicks in with the drums and the band almost stops mid-song. All four members share an acknowledging telepathic look which Paul translates to, “Yeah, this is it.”
As Paul shares this anecdote in the documentary, tears well up in his eyes. It is indeed a powerful moment. Seeing Paul’s revelation of the emotional weight of this life-changing moment is intimate and revelatory. In most Beatle interviews I have observed the band downplaying their impact and adulation. Occasionally, the former members of the band will let their guard down in interviews and reveal a very human moment shared.
Examining Paul McCartney’s anecdote in more detail, it is intriguing to reflect on similar epiphanies we may experience as educators. Do we have moments akin to McCartney’s when we recognize that special collaboration bond with our colleagues? Teaching can be an isolating pursuit. Sometimes, we permit that isolation too much freedom to roam in the marrow of our noble profession. We sometimes close our classroom doors both physically and metaphorically to a colleague. There may be the early arrival or departure to avoid collegial interactions.
When we do open our professional hearts to synergy of collaboration, then the noble beat of teaching our kids becomes something much more meaningful. It is absolutely magical when one feels the collaborative vibe kick in with a colleague. Those moments happen more than we may even realize. Think of that colleague who takes you on a deeper journey during a PLC. It may happen when you walk down the hallway and hear the echo of a teacher doing something that sparks your passion. I encourage you to capitalize on that moment and relentlessly seek out that colleague for a conversation to collaborate.
I think of a fateful tweet from a few years ago. A member of my PLN reached out with a simple question in a tweet. The request was anchored in asking if others could recommend a book to read. I readily responded to Jen Williams tweet not knowing that it would lead down a journey of friendship and collaboration for the next three years and counting. I am very fortunate being connected to an inspiring educator such as Jen who makes you want to be better. Collaborating with Jen is akin to what Paul McCartney was sharing about the first drum beat Ringo exalted over The Beatles when they first played together. One tweet like that first percussive swipe by Ringo sparked a rich and enduring collaborative friendship with Jen. I am grateful to be in the band with Jen.
Recently, Jen and I co-presented at the National School Board Association Conference. Our topic was on building conversation starters for collaborative professional development. There was natural balance in the scope and sequence of our presentation. There was a natural flow the our sharing. We could fill each other’s gaps naturally. All of this due to the value we placed on our collaborative ethos. Even though, we are separated by many miles and prepared as much as we could within the confines of hectic schedules, there was a professional synergy that I felt in the course of our presentation. At one point, I stood still in appreciation of the ground we had walked together. It is what the Allman Brother Band called “Hittin’ the Note.” It’s the moment where there is complete simpatico among the musicians of the band. A sound is created and harnesses energy with the audience. It was evident upon the attendees. A few came up to us afterwards sharing that it was the best presentation experienced at the conference. Presenting with Jen simply made me feel like I was in The Beatles. I could almost hear Paul echoing “Yeah, this is it.” from the “Eight Days a Week” film as we were presenting.
One of the Assistant Principals I collaborate with in my current school assignment sparked collaboration in a recent conversation. Monty Gray shared an inspiring tweet he read from a valued member of our PLN—Danny Steele. Danny writes eloquently about our noble profession. His tweets are succinct yet packed with resonating meaning. Monty shared with me one of Danny’s maxim’s. This one tweet sparked a powerful conversation between Monty and me on how we needed to take more intentional action in modeling building relationships. I felt that same collaborative spark resonate again and I was excited to take giant steps with my colleague. I look forward to seeing what collaborative music is ahead for Monty and I that was all sparked by one tweet from Danny.
Let’s tune our awareness into those collaborative sparks and reach out to our bandmates. Creating a collaborative sound that will infuse deeper hues of learning for our students is the key for all educators.
One tweet is all it took.
One spark to ignite bold, dynamic action to create change.
One beat to change the world.