A few years ago, I worked in at our school districts online elementary school. I was directly out of my student teaching and had spent time in the online environment earning my teacher’s license. So there was some familiarity with the online learning environment, but not enough to call myself an expert.
In the middle of the school year, our principal wanted some of the staff members to try incorporating video instruction into our daily lessons online. I wanted to try doing this to bring more engagement to the lessons for my students online. Being one of the only teachers trying to do this, it was rather frustrating to have little support trying to record myself to have a face to go along with each lesson. My principal suggested that I start with just one grade level lesson and try moving forward from there. But being the perfectionist that I am, I wanted to try and do it for two grade levels. At first, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how I was going to use the video instruction. I decided to use it for my discussions on novels the students were reading. I wanted to create questions for each novel and then put them in a video asking the students the discussion questions for that week. At first, I was able to record the video, but figuring out how to embed it into the website so the video was view-able was bleeding my most valuable resource, time. I was spending too much time on this project that it was biting into my time to create the other lessons for the other grade levels. About two weeks in, I finally was able to get two videos up for 3rd and 4th grade literacy circles. After putting the videos up, I realized that the videos weren’t very effective because it was just me asking a question to the students and not actually engaging in a conversation. I quickly was demoralized by my failure and decided to scrap the project. My principal supported my decision to stop making the videos but also tried to convince me to use the video in a different way in my instruction. But I was just too deflated by my failure to even consider moving in a different direction. This is one of my biggest regrets as a teacher to this day. Giving up on that project was the easy thing to do. I chose to take the easy road instead of learning from my mistakes and moving forward.
Upon reflection, I can now see that I was the cause of the scope creep for my own project. Thinking that I could learn how to create the video, change the format, embed into the website and make it engaging for the students in two grade levels instead of one was just too much work. I can now see the importance of taking baby steps while moving through a new teaching technique. Taking small steps at the beginning can help you take much bigger steps later on in the future. This failure in the past has helped me be successful with other projects as a teacher today. Learning from that mistake has helped me be a successful teacher.