Afraid of Falling

In the era of high stakes testing, permanent academic records, and an ultra-competitive college admissions, high school students are ever-more afraid of failing.

Unfortunately, that is appearing as students afraid to take risks, afraid to look beyond the rubric or the assignment, afraid to be creative.

A slip on an essay, a low grade on the ACT, a botched experiment in Biology class – these can seem like straws threatening to break the proverbial camel’s back.

So what we’ve got is millions of teenagers afraid to be themselves, for fear that one slip will ruin their future.

In the delightful book Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight, the author Debbie Silver relates a story ending with a coach explaining, “that’s not failing, that’s just falling!”

Falling is the requirement for learning. By taking all the slack out of the educational process, we’ve made falling into failing and anxiety into the default mindset of our young people.

That’s the bad news. Tomorrow, the good news.

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