Name: Sherry’s essay “In Praise of the ‘f’ Word”

Name: Olivia BalID: 1172411Teacher: HaneenAdiWriting (1) 233Section (3) In response to Mary Sherry’s essay “InPraise of the ‘f’ Word”     Every single school around the world facesserious challenges of teaching a huge number of students efficiently. Morespecifically, the students are all different at their ways of thinking, morals,religions, cultures, and academic abilities (or intelligence). Everything that differsbetween students divides them into three categories: distracted/weak students,attentive/caring ones and the third middle category. Those various individualdifferences between students disturb the educational process, and make itharder for teachers to cope.

Many teachers seem to pass students along, eventhough, they are not able to read or write well, so that, they’re actually helpingthemselves instead of saving the students’ educational life. Instead of passingthem along, it’s a must to motivate them, help them, advise them and even toforce them for the better if it requires that. At present, a lot of 18-year-oldsare graduating with meaningless certificates. What do teachers have to do? Howto encourage the weaker non-focused students to work harder? Is the threat offailure a perfect motivational tool as Sherry said?     MarySherry agrees in “The Praise of the ‘f’ Word” that the flunking strategy can workperfectly nowadays the way it did in the past, supporting it with her ownexperience.

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The fear of failure will let students manage themselves to do theirbest, to pass. However, the fear of failure doesn’t work every time, and theresults are not always the anticipated. Failure often leads to one of two conclusions.  Failure can lead to increased frustration, orit could be the seed needed to grow to produce a great success.     “Whatdoesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Students with strong personalities usethis saying as a motivational push to face their fear of failure. They believein what Nietzsche said, and it turnedout right for them.

If a student is smart enough and his/her parents are wiseenough, he will use this setback as a turning point to shake things up, toreset his perspective, to start again with more confidence towards his success.In many ways, failure is necessary to embark on a new-needed direction. Inother words, failing will teach students a lot: how to be responsible, todevelop important skills which they will call upon time and time againthroughout life. They will know how to adapt, because life doesn’t always go asplanned.  They will also know how to overcomefrustrations, and many other lessons. Still, would weak personalities know howto manage themselves and benefit from all these advantages?    What is missed in Sherry’s essay, is thatwe can’t generalize her point of view on all the students. Sometimes the threatof failure works conversely.

A teacher should be aware and prudent when and how to use these kinds ofserious threats in order to achieve the desired results. A teacher shouldrealize what factors made a student neglect their studies. Many conditions mayplay a major role in a student’s life and affect them strongly, such as: afamily break-up, teacher’s impact and/or peer pressure etc.      A family breakupattacks a student’s nervous system. Young people feel unprotected, vulnerable, lostin their doubts. In order not to see the ruins of former happiness they mayleave home, neglect their studies and even choose some sort of criminal acts tounderline their personalities and existence.

For example, many such studentstry drugs, forbidden beverages, occasional sex, provocative behavior in publicplaces, dangerous races just to avoid a family drama. Therefore, young peoplefeel themselves in the labyrinth of their fears, failure and frustration, threeterrific “F”s. Any student may face a family break-up, it’s a commonphenomenon in society.

In this case a teacher can’t threaten a student withfailure. In short, a student will have enough to worry about. The teacher mustfind another approach to awaken the students, to be able to make actual changes,to help them get out of chaos.      On one hand, teachersuse various methods and techniques to motivate their students, to persuade themto make education a priority. Yet on the other one, teachers may humiliatestudents thinking they’re gaining more control over them or frightening them. But no, teachers should never do that.Teachers must be role models for their students in the future.

As for me, Iwon’t forget Ms. Maysa, when she embarrassed me in front of the class. Shetaught me French literature, and I refused to join the DELF exam for that year.She was so aggressive and her words were offensive that I stopped studyingFrench. I left studying French till I met Ms. Mona, another French teacher; shewas so understanding. I was encouraged to study French again after 2 years.

Later on, I passed my DELF exam with honor. Wasting two years without Frenchwas painful for me and unforgivable. Teachers mustn’t give their studentsembarrassing haircuts or unwelcomed sarcasm in front of the class.  If a teacher wants to say something they canhave a Tet-a-Tet talk, to keep the conversation private. Such insults may alsolead to failure.  Having an unhealthy fear of failure may leavestudents with an emotional scar. It may lead to health concerns, such as:depression, insomnia, alertness, anxiety, addiction, digestive disorders, andeven committing suicide.

 Theengrossing amount of peer pressure, which disturbs students and also causeshealth problems, is yet another factor for neglecting studies.  Peer pressure is common between students, specially teenagers. Itcan impact them physically and emotionally, more commonly, in a negative way.They care about fitting in with peers, they want to integrate for the sake ofbeing accepted by others. In this manner, bullying is a criticism in a negativeform, included in peer pressure. It has endless consequences, and typically leads to failure.

     On the whole, the threat of failure is apowerful teaching tool.  It may turn intoa gun in “an unskillful fighter’s hands” with two completely differentoutcomes.  One, it either raises thestudent to perfection, or two, it makes them relinquish till forever.  Wise teachers with the knowledge of when toshoot and when to be more understanding and patient is what is required forastonishing accomplishments. Accordingly, all educational institutions willgraduate fruitful generations.