Good evening Year 12s. You all look so wonderful. Well, what to say? Let me start by telling you that I have been teaching for over 30 years now and I am able to say with confidence that the seniors of 2012 are an amazing group of young men and women. It has been my privilege and my joy to teach members of this cohort and to interact with most of you over your time at this school.
I am supposedly meant to offer you some wisdom in this speech. So I’ll try. I am going to talk to you about two Ps.
Paradigm loosely means point of view. It is about trying to see another’s point of view as well as understanding your own. It is about tolerance. It is about not judging until you walk a mile in another man’s shoes. And it can be surprising! Our paradigm can shift instantly with more knowledge.
Some students think teachers are only excited by student work that achieves an A. How false is that paradigm! We celebrate Cs and Ds, I assure you. We celebrate and admire the student who never stops trying no matter what their result. So when I say YOU are an amazing bunch, I don’t want anyone discounting themselves from that statement. Not one of you is to think oh yeah she means them, not me. I do mean you.
Our paradigm, our belief as to what is happening in life profoundly affects our relationships with others and with ourselves. Author, Sean Covey, tells the story of a friend who was returning from a long stay in Europe. She found herself with spare time at the airport, so she bought herself a cup of coffee and a small packet of biscuits and staggered with her luggage to an empty table. She was reading the paper when she became aware of rustling and looked up to see a young, neatly dressed man helping himself to her biscuits. Although feeling somewhat indignant, she didn’t want to make a scene, so she reached across and took a biscuit for herself. A minute or so passed and he helped himself to another. She was furious, but maintained a stony silence. When they were down to...