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Posts Tagged ‘reinvention’

Just play the greatest hits!

When you go see a legend in concert, you often just want to see them play the songs that made them famous. I just heard an interview with Roger Daltrey of The Who, where he said there was no point in producing any new music because the fans just want to listen to the classics in concert. He said, “People want to hear the old music. I don’t know why, but that’s the fact.”

So, how does this have anything to do with teaching or education?

I think great teachers are in my many ways like great rock stars – each year they build a setlist that they take out on tour.  The challenge is whether to just play the greatest hits, or mix in some new material.  Teachers have their greatest hits.  Every year in October they might do that awesome lab down by the beach, or in February they give that test that all kids say is the most difficult test they will ever write, or maybe in May there is a field trip that kids remember years after.  

When I think of the musicians I admire, they are the ones that know the fans want the greatest hits, but they are also committed to their craft and always still creating.  I was thinking about this recently as two of my favourites are releasing new albums in the next month – Paul Simon and Cat Stevens.  They both know that if they choose to perform again, people will want to hear Sounds of Silence and Moonshadow, but they are both still creating new ideas.  They are evolving and reinventing.  They are not running away from their greatest hits, but also looking to add new material.  I wrote previously about Paul Simon, on the release of his 2018 album, about how he was also taking previously published material and reworking it.  All of this that Paul Simon and Cat Stevens are doing is just like what happens in the classroom.  As good as you are, or as famous as you have become,  there is great power in those who are continually recreating and mixing in new material.

I think of this in my work as well.  It is so easy to just work through the rolodex in my mind and play the Superintendent Greatest Hits.  And I definitely do some of that.  But I want to be Paul Simon or Cat Stevens, someone who could get away without still creating, but does it anyway, because I am forever curious and continuously striving for reinvention.

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