Available data from researches put the top speed of a cheetah at 64mph with a snail slithering along at 0.03mph. This means that it would take a cheetah 3 seconds to cover a distance of 100m and a snail, 8000 seconds to cover same. The longest a snail can live for is 25years and it will take 250years to attain this amazing feat of the cheetah. With all these put together, it is only logical to say that indeed, a snail cannot take the race of a cheetah.

This phenomenon can be used to identify the relationship between Self-esteem and Academic Achievement. Self-esteem is a feeling of self-worth, self-perception. It is the image people nurture in their minds about themselves. It captures an individual’s values and internal driving force. It is what stands where there are no ‘external’ encouraging words or praises. One’s self-esteem is either high (good/healthy) or low (bad/unhealthy).There is no average grade. Age and size are no measures of self-esteem.

Academic achievement on the other hand is a relative term. However, the most overt or public indicators of academic achievement are school marks or grades. These are greatly valued as a determinant of one’s success in academics.

Several studies relating self-esteem to academic performance have in most cases, shown that students with high self-esteem record more pleasing academic performance. Students who have been filled with so much positivity about themselves have a healthy attitude towards life and scale through hurdles to become outstanding.

Students who already think highly of themselves and their worth will automatically get better grades and strive for higher academic achievement. The belief is that if the student expects the best, the student is more likely to obtain the best.

It is however reasonable to also ask, “Unlike how undisputable it is in the case of real life snails and cheetahs, can the sluggish, unmotivated snail rise to attain an amazing feat, probably the peak of success that the cheetah represents? Here our snail represents a quality of low esteem and the cheetah, the one of higher self-esteem.

It’s is clear that low self-esteem retards success. Self-esteem speaks volume about a whole lot: attitude, effort, motivation, mental health. In fact, everything a person is all, even his goals and how he wants to achieve them. Low self-esteem is the snail-quality that will never make anyone level up or get to the point of having big dreams; aspiring to be great or recording ground-breaking achievements in any field.

Self-esteem plays a major role in learning outcomes. Students with high self-esteem build healthy relationships. They tend to have a great value system and are careful about whom they allow in their space. And it is noteworthy that healthy relationships have positive effects on overall performance. One would then imagine how large the gap between students of high self-esteem and those with low self-esteem would be.

Students with high self-esteem are open to exploring new ideas that align with their goals. They are confident about taking up challenges without failure. It is however inevitable sometimes to experience failure. But when faced with such situation, they handle it better than students with low self-esteem. For them, it is a motivation to do better. Many students struggle at school as a result of their low self-esteem. Aside their inability to catch up with their counterparts academically, they happen to be victims of harassment or bullying at home/school. They are unable to stand up to the oppressor.

Since self-esteem has been positively correlated with academic achievement, it is expected that attention be given to boosting the former. Students don’t just wake up and start feeling bad about themselves, it is a process. It is the sum of every negativity that has been put into them, a total of all denials, rejection, absence of love, lack, environment and other factors. Raising self-esteem is an important task for parents and educators.

Parents have a huge role to play in helping their children build a healthy self-confidence. Parents have to:

  • Understand each child’s behavior and their unique needs.
  • Be available to give attention and care.
  • give and watch their children carry out responsibilities
  • praise a child accordingly
  • encourage great relationship among siblings

It is important for educators to remember that improvement, not perfection, is the desired goal in changing human behavior. Striving for perfection is simply an attempt at raising oneself from an inferior position to one of superiority or beyond mastery, which is neither the goal nor a desirable result. Instead students should be offered shorter-term goals that are practically within their reach. This will encourage them.

Schools should plan workshops with students along with their parents. These should be involved in discussing personal/social, academic and career goals. They should also dedicate extra attention towards improving behaviors and/or attitudes of struggling students. They should be given the opportunity to project their thoughts, feelings and behaviors in greater depth. Students should be encouraged to engage in self-regulated learning. Another way to build school morale and again promote system support would be, engaging students in projects. This involves having students do something together for their school. This activity can help build the social interest within the school as well as boost relationship skills and responsible decision-making skills.

It can thus be concluded that, rather than making a snail take up the race of a cheetah, the snail should work towards becoming a cheetah itself; or even better. The relationship between self-esteem and academic achievement is very cordial. Thus, no student can afford to be the slack. Work towards a healthy self-esteem and academic excellence would be almost inevitable.


  1. Avatar

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