People Discuss Whether School Cultivates a Fear of Failure in Kids

I can say, without a doubt, that school DID NOT cultivate a fear of failure in me personally, but I’m just one example…

I know times have changed at least a little bit since I was in school, but in my school, if you weren’t a great athlete, you were kind of invisible…

I’m not complaining at all, I got good grades and had a blast in school with my friends, but I didn’t feel like the teachers were really all that interested in me in one way or another, so it was all a wash…

Do you think school cultivates a fear of failure in students?

Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.

1. The system…

“I feel like the school system barely does anything to try and spark interest in learning and instead just beats in a fear of failure due to the grading system causing students to fear making mistakes and instead focus on just trying to get good scores.

When a kid who might be a slow learner doesn’t understand something but the class is already moving on to another topic their going to feel embarrassed and anxious and instead of trying to fully understand the topics they’re just going to try and memorize as much as they can for that week just to do well on that week’s pop quiz or whatever and then forget that sh*t right after.”

2. Still haunted.

“I changed school systems a lot as a kid. One of those was between 3rd and 4th grade.

The school I went to during 3rd grade was about a year or two ahead of the school I went to during 4th grade in maths, so I had a really easy time and often ended up very bored, and occasionally made minor errors I may not have if I were paying attention.

Instead of being happy that I understood the material or encouraging me, my teacher berated me for every minor mistake and told my mother that I was causing problems.

This is the same teacher who made me count every book I read as half a book for our class reading challenge because I “read too much and it wouldn’t be fair”.

She haunts me to this day.”

3. That’s not good.

“Isn’t it funny that the one time in your life where you can fail and have almost no consequences is also the time that you are convinced that the world will end if you make one small mistake?”

4. Not encouraging…

“Schools push kids towards “success” by giving them everything ready-made.

Interest and perseverance is induced when they are told to figure out something on their own.

The skill of figuring out a problem helps throughout one’s life. Sadly, schools don’t encourage that.”

5. All about funding.

“Most schools only care about test scores because it’s how they get their funding. Realistically the whole system is geared toward grades and that does not correlate to an education.

I am very tactile when it comes to learning, so regurgitating facts back into a test was never my strong suite.

I did well enough to go to college, but I feel like most people with issues like mine instead begin to think they are stupid, or unable to learn material, because it’s not about teaching anymore it’s only about results and test scores.”

6. And on top of that…

“Not only that, but schools don’t teach sh*t.

They teach you how to memorize. I don’t remember anything I learned after I do a test on it, yet I remember various random lines from an engaging video on YouTube that I looked up because I was interested.

School is not run well whatsoever.”

7. Here’s who to get mad at.

“Schools don’t choose what they teach. Common Core determines that.

Teachers don’t want to teach what they are forced to teach. If you want to get angry at someone get mad at your school board and do some research and you’ll see how it’s basically lobbyists for giant education corporations to make sure they have exclusive rights to this district etc. It’s a business first, your child’s education is last.

And truthfully, if you think the federal government wants what is best for your children… Then you obviously never learned much yourself.”

8. The way it is.

“This is the modern US school system.

Chief culprits are standardized testing and No Child Left Behind, which do a waltz together while f*cking up the whole country.”


“Not just fear of failure, school cultivates actual failure.

I think the bigger problem is it cultivates a fear of doing.

But yeah, the simplest way to do well in school is to already have the answers and that’s not how life works.”

10. Speaks to me.

“This 100% speaks to me as someone who always felt two steps behind compared to my peers in school.

It always took me a little while longer to grasp a concept. I always performed best when given a project over the span of a week or two to really think it through and draft my best work. Opposed to classes that quizzed me on every topic at the end of a week where I’d often fail.

Luckily I had parents at home that saw my potential and really pushed me to continue on into university and eventually graduate school (where I still have to put in many more hours of work to succeed compared to my peers).

But the fact that not every child has this support and has to lean on the school system completely is an issue when that very system fails them consistently.”

11. Even teachers agree.

“As a teacher, I completely agree.

I work in a broken system and every year my passion for teaching and learning erodes away.”

12. It’s about practice.

“This is why I always hated teachers that would grade homework (not a big project, more like a worksheet).

Why would you punish me for practicing something?

Practicing is not about doing it perfect the first time so what’s so different about math, science, etc.”

13. Affected.

“A bad teacher can really affect someone’s life.

I’m almost finished with a degree I don’t want because my teachers convinced me I wasn’t good at the subjects I was interested in.

Also, competition in university for admissions to programs that are small just motivates students to try and get the best grade possible instead of actually enjoying learning.”

Do you think school cultivates a fear of failure in kids?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Please and thank you!