In  European folklore, the “thieving magpie” is renowned for stealing shiny things (interestingly, this unfortunate perception of the bird has been debunked). This is, obviously, not a good thing for people!

I sometimes feel like a magpie in my teaching and learning. I get attracted to shiny classroom ideas, tricks, books, thoughts and much more. I get hooked and then try to implement them in my classroom, or research them more and more and get lost down a rabbit hole. The problem is, there are too many shiny things out there and not enough time. I end up with a feeling that I am becoming a “jack of all trades, and master of none”. No sooner have I experimented with one shiny thing, I am moving on to the next shiny thing. It can be hard to focus on one aspect of your teaching when there are so many great ideas out there.

How do you manage this type of stress? How do you help yourself focus on one shiny thing at a time? Do you have any tips? I would love to hear them!

2 thoughts on “Magpies

  1. One idea Louie is to choose one idea you are interested in and give yourself a timeline to decide if you are going to implement it. The timeline will depend on how significant the change is. After that period of time is finished you need to be critical about how useful/appropriate the new tool/idea etc is and then decide if you are going to formally embed it in your practice. For example, for the past 4 years I have got my IB HL Glopo students to present 2 x 10 minute oral presentations (as per the guide). I had a nagging feeling that doing 3 across the 2 years would actually be better, but I couldn’t know this unless I took the chance of implementing it over a 2 year period. At the end of next year I will be able to formally know if this gamble has worked (based on student reflections, results, my own beliefs) and then I will go back to doing 2 case studies or keep going with the 3. Calling this an experiment and being prepared to revert back to what I did before after my analysis helps to relieve the stress of the initial change. Just an idea that may or may not relate to your situation.


    1. Hi Mel,

      Thanks for this! I completely agree with what you say. I always start every year like this, but I lack staying power. I get distracted by other things on offer and the ‘busyness’ of the roles. I also struggle with the many hats that we wear, which further distracts me as there are things I want to get better at in every aspect of education. Thanks for reinforcing the idea that action research and deliberate practice are the way forward. I think, next year, I am going to ensure that I get consistent feedback on my PLP goals. I would like to work with someone who can come into my classroom and look at what it going on and throw feedback and ideas my way. I think this will help focus me on one idea a lot more! Thanks for taking the time to share 🙂



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