The Concept of Failure in The Opportunity to Fail, an Essay by Kathleen Smith

The essay, “The Opportunity to Fail” by Kathleen Smith brings attention to the ongoing practice of young scholars not being expected to uphold to a certain set of standards that require them to take their assignments seriously and work hard to develop their skills and knowledge Although failure is not a foreign concept to most students. it does most definitely hold negative connotation. However, this should not mean that failure is something that should be feared by students, or by the teachers who are put into positions where they must take charge of the situation.

Instead, it is important to recognize that failure can spark motivation for students and encourage them to flourish. Smith argues that failure is not something to necessarily dread and can be a positive experience to learn and grow from if approached in the correct manner.

One prime example of failure being something with positive outcomes that outweigh the negative, is that, students that go through the whole process of being failed by a teacher learn that they can strive to do better in the future.

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Students who get away with being sloppy and only putting minimum effort into their work do not reach their maximum potential because no one is there to let them know that they are capable of doing better. Smith agrees by stating that she believes in her students and expects them to do better, and she allows them to fail when they are incapable of engaging. Due to the fact that not very many people are taking the time to hold them accountable for their neglectfulness.

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students start to perceive the world as a place that accepts those that choose to slack off. They often fail to realize that what they are doing is wrong and how it is essentially affecting them.

Whereas scholars that are forced to face the consequences for their slothful behavior and effort are much more likely to engage in their future t ignments, understand that they are capable of so much more improvement, and strive to better themselves. Not only are students bettering themselves by failing, but they are also learning a new set of ideals, When a professor or teacher holds a student accountable for the amount of effort that they exert into an assignment that they must submit, the student is more likely to understand the mechanics of how the world truly works, Students should be taught that they only receive what they put out into the world. Those same young scholars will eventually grow and mature and start working jobs, but ilthey continue to have the same mentality of only accomplishing the bare minimum, it is safe to say that they may not get very far in the real world.

It makes sense to say that students who are continuously let off of the hook for their indolent behavior presume that what they are doing is completely justifiable and fine. They start to believe that cutting corners will continue to work out in their favor, and with that certain mindset, they are not only cheating the system, but they also continue to cheat themselves. However, if a teacher were to be bold, and fail the student for their inadequate work, it would teach the student to appreciate the idealized theory that they will receive credit that is equal to the amount of time and energy they spent on completing an assignment. In other words. if a student’s work is sloppy and deficient, then it should reflect negatively back onto the student and be evident in their grades so that the student can learn from his or her mistake and fix the issue so that it does not become a habit and continue to progre s they grow older.

Another one of the many other reasons as to why failing a student is not as terrible as it seems, is that it would be unfair to other hard working students to let the slackers off easy. There are few thing that are equally as unfortunate as having to witness one student working day and night, constantly pushing themselves to improve, and continuously looking over their work to make sure that everything is perfect, get the same grade as the scholar that did not feel the need to bother using the correct font on their essay or care much about the essay at all The situation is degrading the student that was taking the assignment seriously. I know from experience that it can be such a let down to see your work labeled with the same letter grade as the other kid in class that never worked hard or cared about any of the material and curriculum.

It personally made me want to stop trying so hard all of the time, because I felt as though either way, the teacher would always turn his cheek and ignore how unfair the grading system was All in all, failure is not something that needs to be avoided. In fact, it should be something that most professors and teachers should be comfortable doing for the sake of helping their students better themselves. Being failed has potential to be extremely beneficial for scholars even if it may not seem that way at first glance. Failure should not be a student’s biggest nightmare, and instead, it should help them unravel how the world works and help them improve on themselves and their skills.

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The Concept of Failure in The Opportunity to Fail, an Essay by Kathleen Smith. (2022, Jul 20). Retrieved from

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