5 Main Reasons Why Students Fail

Realistic Reasons why a student experiences failure through my experience, as an educator, mentor as well as a student.

Photo by Ksenia Makagonova on Unsplash

Education is a lifelong process, that starts from your birth till the day we say goodbye. It is a journey perhaps that calls for celebration more often than not, at times it can be struggling as we learn to fail through the choices that impact us in the most negative of ways possible if we let them.

Failure is something that is accompanied by all walks of life. We fail in a lot in many ways thus our learning process never stops. There is perhaps a time when we are enrolled in a systematic process called a school, and because of the structured systems we sometimes are unable to fit or it is unable to accommodate us.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison

Through my journey, I am a student of life so whatever happens in life — I have been able to experience it with a full swing as I am still learning newer ways I never thought possible. Failure is the method that I use to learn with ease, without worrying about the harmful effects. But it wasn’t like this always, throughout my educational career, whether as a student or teacher I have learned all ways of how one can fail.

Through my experience, I was not only able to push myself but other people as well towards success. Failure can happen because of many reasons in a person’s lifetime. Most often than not, it is not in our control. Thus here are the real reasons why a student might fail during his educational journey.

Hard Course Material, No Guidance, Do it Yourself

Have you ever studied College Calculus, I have with a book at least 2000 pages worth of mathematics? To this day, I haven’t been able to finish it. Our Professor stopped on page 800 and the rest you have to do it yourself. I stopped doing it on page 1500. One of the many reasons for that is because I had no guidance or motivation to complete it.

Surely I did the khan academy course videos on calculus. But that book was way too hard and vaguely written. I sometimes feel the writers purposely just put it that way to increase the page count.

Most students usually fail, because of no moral support or guidance. Motivation comes afterward, at first you need to be able to understand the basics and fundamentals of what you learn. If you get a headache reading it, then that means it is not a good book and is poorly written for the reader to engage and follow through the letter.

I believe there are some great mathematics books out there, perhaps it also depends on the subject that you’re doing. If it’s linear algebra, I would do that blindfolded, and still, pass. If it’s calculus, I have doubts.

Thus these doubts become harder on your mind as you write answers. Without proper guidance and structured course outline —All students will struggle with the things they are being taught and they will fail badly at it.

Now I do believe that practice makes a man perfect, but it doesn’t always if the instruction manual is flawed or the instruction altogether is just garbage, hard, and too vague to understand for anyone let alone a child. If it’s not simple to read and understand for the student to go home and repeat.

It definitely is need of a revision.

Most of the time everything is just thrown at the student, then why is he even paying tuition for the classes if, at the end of the day, he has to teach himself — what’s the role of the teacher?

As a teacher myself, I push my students towards understanding even the complex of subject matter in simple words and language that they can understand.

I have had a few teachers who would always convert what the book said into something so simple even a 3rd grader with minimal effort can pull it off. A student will struggle a lot with the curriculum if the teacher and the curriculum are both a literal headache.

A teacher is perhaps the primary source of motivation for the student if their parents don’t show enthusiasm.

The self-motivation for a child is always from people whom he or she aspires from. This is perhaps the most basic of the law of human nature there is when it comes to motivation.

Thus even if the course work is hard, but people are cheering a student on, no matter how hard the course material comes, he or she will be able to make ends meet eventually.

Coming towards the subject of doing it yourself — it’s a basic fact that through trial and error will a student succeed so failures are bound to happen eventually.

You can walk in the wrong direction when left unguided, and you can definitely fall into the wrong hands when there is no one to guide you. I have seen countless people failing because of this issue when there is no one to show them the right way.

There are perhaps many evils of society that will cause you to affect your education, your mental health, and your life as a whole. Thus, telling a student to do it by themselves without guidance is the worst advice ever, and it never accomplishes anything. Without inspiration, motivation, aim, or even moral support such as a pat on the back — a student will fail otherwise.

A great example goes a long way than guidance without emphasis.

Thus there should always be some form of encouragement, instead of putting fear in the minds of students, we should allow them to feel encouraged enough to acknowledge and accept things, that makes it easy. That will push them to learn, and thus mitigate the risk of experiencing failing twice in the same problem space.

Undiagnosed Mental Health issues

Perhaps many “failure” students usually have symptoms of ADHD early on in their childhood, but either because of cultural stigma or lack of awareness towards mental health — these symptoms go undetected and the students suffer badly because of it.

It takes one to know one, I know it all too well. There are many other issues the student might be feeling, anxiety, depression — these signs can become prevalent in students who experience the “fear” more than the failure itself.

Fear of getting hit, Fear of parental abuse, fear of any other godforsaken disaster that might come their way if they fail, all of such things cause a lot of anxiety, depression in the minds of students.

At most a student usually fails because of these three problems. Because at the end of the day, if the mind gets exhausted then the student won’t even be able to perform basic activities of daily life tasks. I have seen many students who become really mentally slow in systems where their symptoms go undiagnosed for years.

They struggle with even basic things, find it hard to relate to others as well as themselves. They neither can’t learn anything and they become dumb. Because the mental struggle takes a toll on their brain, and it is much harder for them to continue school for that matter as they fail at every other thing they put their mind to.

It also fills them with anger and rage that sometimes can cause a lot of mishappenings such as using a pencil to stab a teacher who beats them for failing tests. Yes, that has happened during my experience as a student. I have seen one guy who stabbed a pencil in the eye of a teacher.

Such kinds of symptoms, if go undetected and undiagnosed, can lead to many harmful after-effects that can happen, and affect the life of the student as well as the people around them.

Poor Teachers

I know the dilemma of most school systems and their teachers. But when the teacher is poor at their role then it becomes a much harder job to teach someone who themselves can’t perceive or sit well with such a teacher.

Poor teachers are perhaps what is happening to many students that fail. I have fairly experienced teachers in my life who despite my caliber and creativity always awarded me poorly with grades. I don’t know what was the actual problem, I have even asked them. To this day, perhaps it has to do with their own self-esteem issues.

A good teacher is always able to do their role and responsibility with vigor, and enthusiasm.

They are result-driven, and would never put a child in the same boat as the other sitting next to them. But most teachers do just that. I have fairly experienced that teachers usually leave the students that struggle with learning, and they choose to do so for a reason.

Because they find it hard to teach them as they can’t do so. They never become the bridge to cross over. Instead, they let their students jump, and when the student doesn’t know how to swim, they drown.

That is perhaps what poor teachers are responsible for, drowning students into failure and neither truly saving them nor do they help them learn to swim or even lend a hand. For them, they are only aiming to receive the paycheck and the students that can do favors for them can gain a reputable grade. The reasons perhaps are many and known.

Though at times even a good teacher can fail if they are in a bad school, if the school doesn’t give them resources then he can’t fully help his students. Not all times, it’s the teacher’s fault. But most of the time, if the instructor is intellectually and emotionally tepid then perhaps the student is not the one to be blamed for failure.

Poor Educational Systems

A good example of this system is perhaps using the centralized hierarchy, A, B, C, D, E as a metric for distributing students based on their learning aptitudes or lack thereof.

Where A is the excellent crop, and B are the good ones that are treated in the much higher manner they would be if they were D and E. They might even gain scholarships, prestige, and much pompous achievement.

Meanwhile, C is the average, D and E are basically the crops that are thrown away, into levels where they neither are taught properly nor they are treated carefully. Most of the D and E class students suffer from physical abuse and other forms of emotional and psychological violence.

Perhaps they might even be stripped naked, and physically abused with a stick on their buttocks to improve their grades. Such practices are done, in most parts of Asia, Latin America, and even can reach the western hemisphere.

This is perhaps done to ensure only the ones that have fair memorization skills, and can rota learn with ease to go upwards. Those who pick up things easily move upwards while those that can’t become bottom dwellers in this hierarchy.

They are forgotten, they lose all motivation while many become roughnecks and rebels because of the abuse they experience. Some might even quit school altogether and join violent gangs contributing to crimes.

Most of these educational systems don’t acknowledge the mental health issues of the students who can’t fairly memorize, thus when they fail excessively are classified as mentally retarded and are flushed away completely. One of the many reasons why students fail is the lack of support from the educational systems in which they study.

Many students who can only afford such measures to move forward in life have to compromise over a life of hardship in such schools, even if they fail — if a student persists 4 years of violence like this in a school.

That tells you about him a lot of how much self-motivated, persistent, and resilient he really is. But sadly in such schools, these personal qualities are never valued and never truly respected. In short, nobody gives a damn about them.

The men who have had the most to give to their fellow men are those who have enriched their minds and hearts in solitude. It is a poor education that does not fit a man to be alone with himself. — Joel Henry Hildebrand

Not only it contributes towards building crippled minds but also pushes the progress in the opposite direction. I believe many people are still in the dilemma that this doesn’t exist. For them I have a message, Wake up and take responsibility for our children.

Lack of motivation, purpose or Procrastination

This is perhaps, last on my list because for a reason. Because it is always the last reason. Most times some students fail in class because either the material is too hard, or the classroom just doesn’t fully support every student’s needs.

The system as a whole is based on a hierarchy system, that removes students with a higher chance of memorization and rota learn in the upper echelons, while the failures are flushed away as bottom dwellers.

All of this, along with the poor treatment of teachers towards their students. Putting all students in a single boat and killing their creativity. Criplling their minds and causing all sorts of mental disorders and anxiety in students. Contributing to their mental decline, and so much more.

If a student is deactivated, then that clearly shows you a sign that any number of reasons can be present. And most times it is clearly the system at fault. If the system were all well, then we would be seeing a change in the overall quality of the graduates and the job market. I have seen many faculty members argue over this factor, at times. When it’s usually they don’t take responsibility where it’s due.

I have known many proficient teachers, masters of their trade who could easily motivate the most demotivated student through their personal charisma. Heck, when I was in the final year of high school, our physics professor used to teach us, extra classes of physics, chemistry, and maths, to help us improve so that we can score highest in the final year exams.

That man was a responsible educator and our loving guardian whom we praise still to this day. He was an awesome man. He helped us gain the extra insight, to surpass the learning curve — there isn’t one guy in our class of 56 boys who got less than 85% out of 100 in physics and math.

There are many other educators as well who took it upon themselves to mitigate the risks that push students to learn. Whether demotivated or not, he was never paid a single dime for it.

Do you know why he did it? His motto was if I let even a single one of you fail in the final year examination, I should be ashamed as a physics professor and as an instructor.

This impacted us in ways we never thought possible, now it wasn’t our pride running on the line, It was our instructors and we were motivated to shine his name and his hard work. We did it! all because of his valiant efforts, and his charisma.

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Students can be deactivated sure, they can even procrastinate but when you have heroes like him who tell you that he’ll be there till the evening to teach. I believe there would be fewer failures and more successors in this world.

He used to deal with students who would skip class, skip school altogether. So he asked them to sleep the day, come by the evening. They would come, and he would teach them.

Auditoriums would be filled in the evening classes as not only students who came in the morning would come as well. And students from other schools as well to attend his lectures.

This is something truly motivates a student who would fail in a traditional classroom. When someone truly believes in you, I can’t even fathom someone giving up or even losing one ounce of sleep truly working hard to making their dreams a reality.

A student might lack self-motivation due to many reasons, whether it be personal life issues, mental health issues, parental issues, schoolwork issues, one of these, or sometimes all of these can affect the mind of the student. This blame culture that revolves around students needs to be stopped.

It is pushing them towards depression, and anxiety and seriously affecting their mental health. I am sure, some people can say they are self-motivated. Try to fit yourself in their shoes, and you will realize that things are never black or white.

I have been able to help thousands stay motivated, through my journey as a student and as well as an educator. It all comes down to the people around you, they are a necessary factor in pushing you towards your goals. Moral support plays a vital role in success otherwise, it is technically a really long road that does take a toll on students and they quit altogether.

“A thinker sees his own actions as experiments and questions — as attempts to find out something. Success and failure are for him answers above all.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

It all takes someone to show you the way, that is how we truly learn. At times we all need a push and help. Either it’s a sign from the universe or from someone we love and care about, it is needed for us to get motivated. Something that will challenge and show us a better path at pushing forward.

Remember the best way to surpass failure is to accept and acknowledge that it exists. It makes it easier to find out the things that will help you in mitigating the risks that are involved in them, perhaps even in life there are always problems but a fresh perspective can always change. So be positive and use failures as a stepping stone, build yourself on them.

“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” — Linda Poindexter

One day will come when you will be free, but there is perhaps more chances of seeking harmony in failure than it would be without them as you always get another chance to change that fate.

Take care, Stay Blessed, and Stay Safe.

With Love ❤️

Riku Arikiri

I write about life, and the hope it bears in a poetic context. 💖🕊️

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