Fear of Failure Among American Students

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” This is a quote by Paulo Coelho. Although, it is not directly referring to the public school system, I believe that this quote fits the mold for it very well. Fear of failure is not uncommon among anyone. Fear can change the way that we learn and restrict our creativity. In the public school system it limits the depth of creativity and originality by teaching us to memorize information without any reason as to of why we are mindlessly reciting it. The future of the youth of America is dependent on our educators to teach them in a fearless environment, but I’m not sure that many have done a very good job of that. Children in the public school system today are in fear of failure, constantly struggling to fit the mold, and not mess up, all the while some teachers leave them behind.

To begin with, many students do not fit the required mold of public schools. “Simply doing more of what has not been working will not prove helpful, nor can you teach a child simply by testing him” (Professional Development 2). Every child is their own individual person, so no child will perfectly fit the same work style, or testing methods. The current American education system is letting fear make young minds follow, listen, and recite, not to lead and question. Fear of being different stunts a child’s mind, but they should be taught that it is okay to be different.

Next, kids also should be accepted for their failures, and taught that it’s not a bad thing to mess up. “Children are not allowed to escape into passivity, helplessness, or maladaptive behaviors” (Professional Development 7). This describes the issue perfectly because kids can't help it when the mess up, especially if it involves learning something new. When a child is laughed at, or looked down upon whenever they mess up, they will start to shy away from even trying new things. It will become harder and harder for a child to overcome their newfound fear of failure.

Finally, I believe it is very important for a teacher to adapt and help modern students overcome their fears. “We don't train teachers as professionals, we don't respect them as professionals, we don't compensate them as professionals” (Levy 18). It goes without saying that teachers have one of the most important jobs ever, and that their influence shapes the future generations of our country. Therefore, they should be treated with respect, far better than they have been treated as of late. I believe that we should take that into account, and have our educators be able to teach kids that they have nothing to fear, even failure.

Overall, fear of failure is not uncommon among anyone. Fear can change the way that we learn and restrict our creativity. Children in the public school system today fear failure, constantly struggle to fit the mold, and to not mess up, all the while some teachers have to leave them behind. Kids today are being forced into an education system that doesn’t always fit them, and most of the time are too frightened to try and change it. Therefore, I suggest a more individual approach to education, that has the potential to significantly change the way we teach children in our current system. 

01 August 2022
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