Failure is the Only Option


Photo by Ashley Veazey.

Posters around CCHS promoting "Title 1 Enrichment Academy".

Ava Lewis, Editor in Chief

I had one thought as I saw the posters promoting the new tutoring program filling the hallways: What the actual f**** — the “f” being “failure,” obviously.

My problem wasn’t that failure was mentioned. It was that in an offensively ugly font larger than the rest, “Where failure is not an option” was emboldened.

Tutoring is not something to be shamed at all. Tutoring is essential to so many student’s success due to learning differences and troubles with teachers. Getting an F on a test isn’t an attack on someone’s character, it is merely struggling with a topic or with a subject and needing help. I’ve had a total of five to six math tutors and I’m still struggling to find what I need help on. And that’s okay! We don’t need to attain perfection if we are doing our best and trying our best to understand. But if you advertise a helpful resource with a message shaming the person struggling and in great need of the resource, how is that helping them?

I’m so sick of this suffocating school environment where grades are more important than true successes and learning from our mistakes and struggles is apparently no longer tolerated. Why would you go to be tutored in a setting where the “failure” that brought you there will not be tolerated? Why tutor someone if you believe that struggle equals failure? Learning is not a process that entails perfection. Learning is pushing through agonizing busy work and classes to try and find worth in what you’re given. Learning is peaked curiosity and reading in an endless Wikipedia spiral to attain knowledge you didn’t have. Learning is working with your teacher from the innate desire to improve and learn what you can. And everyone learns differently and has their own failures along the way. We are not all the same pre-programmed geniuses that understand concepts the first time they are explained that this school caters to.

In the world today there are massive deficits in creativity and innovation as seen by countless articles, and it’s truly because so many of us aren’t able to be vulnerable enough to share our ideas when they could so easily be shot down and criticized and failure is scorned instead of being validated as a learning experience. Without this attitude towards vulnerability, how can anything productive be done?

The true failure is teaching students that their need to be encouraged and taught by a teacher — remember how helping students to succeed is your job? — is a failure that deems them inadequate in the eyes of their world.