When I decided to write a blog, I thought long and hard about a name for it. I’ve used the name Novel_approach for years on online teaching forums, largely because I’m not particularly good at puns and that was the best I could come up with at short notice when I was asked for a nom de plume by a website.
Except, I realised, it was almost entirely unsuitable. Novel approaches, I have decided, are almost entirely lacking from my teaching. Over the last ten years, I have done many worthwhile things, but rarely, if ever, have I invented something entirely new, or put a new spin on an old idea…
I aspire to be an @teachertoolkit, or an @huntingenglish, or an @headguruteacher. New ideas, new thinking, new permutations on old themes; they seem to generate them weekly for the rest of the teaching profession to breath in and feel refreshed by.
Sadly, I’m probably not going to achieve that. Instead, I like to believe that my successes have come from carefully filleting the clouds of information about teaching into a series of tools which worked for me, in very practical ways.
So, instead, the blog will be Teachingmagpie. Because, at heart, that is what we all are. According to our critics, cantankerous birds, prone to seeing things in black and white, and seizing any old shiny idea without critique. According to our fans; faithful, selective, with an eye for the telling detail, and a sharp dress code in variations of monochrome.
So, teachingmagpie it will be, both here and on Twitter. I hope some of the ideas I have gathered over my career as a teacher of English and as a Head of Department will find new nests, take flight into the world, or be magpied in turn.