Graduation and Welcome Back for Term Three

“It makes little difference how many university courses or degrees a person may own. If he cannot use words to move an idea from one point to another, his education is incomplete.”
– Attributed to Norman Cousins

Welcome back, everyone, to term three of the 2015 school year. I hope you are all well-rested after the two week mid-year break from face-to-face known as the July holidays and are ready to return to the classroom, either today or tomorrow, depending on when your school schedules the staff development day. Personally, my mid-year break was an intense, emotional period, that was physically, mentally and emotionally draining, yet I find myself filled with a sense of renewed vigour and excitement for the coming term.

The first week, as my regular readers would be aware, consisted of my graduation from university on Thursday, July 2nd. I graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) / Bachelor of Arts with Class One Honours in Teaching, and the 2014 Faculty Medal from the  Faculty of Education and Arts, and was selected to be make the Graduate Address, which my American readers would know as the Valedictorian Address.

I have edited, and included below, the video of the full graduation ceremony to show my actual graduation, i.e., the presentation of the testamur by the Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, along with the Chancellor’s introduction of myself as the Graduate Speaker, my Graduate Address, and the Chancellors remarks in reply.

When I was writing the speech, I did so from a place of wanting to find a balance between humour and my own tendency to be overly serious, which I believe I was successful in doing. However, what I did not realise, until I actually began to deliver my speech, was that I had, in essence, articulated my Teaching Philosophy in a different medium and with different words. I am someone who sheds excess emotional energy, nervous energy, adrenalin, nerves in an outpouring of emotion. At my wedding, I was so overcome with emotion that as my soon-to-be-wife walked down the aisle, all I could so was cry with happiness as excess nervous energy and adrenalin bled off through tears.

I desperately wanted to avoid that on this occasion. I felt my message was important, and I wanted to get it across without those same tears, which I knew, within myself, would threaten, as I knew there would similar levels of nerves and adrenalin building up. Particularly given that the Graduate Address was not due until the very end of the Graduation Ceremony. Thus, upon realising how close my speech was to my Teaching Philosophy, and how dear and close to the heart my message truly was, I battled the whole way through, after about thirty seconds, to stem the tide. I managed to hold it together, but goodness, it was a close call. I had not realised how strongly I would be affected articulating the sentiments that are behind the reason I teach, to approximately four hundred people. The audience included my fellow graduates of course many of whom had become close friends, but my wife, mum, grand, my brother and an aunt, as well as the family and friends of my fellow graduates, and of course the members of the University hierarchy, and many lecturers and tutors who had most impacted my tertiary studies, including my Honours supervisor.

From the feedback I received immediately afterwards, from the person I was sitting next to on the dais, the Chancellors remarks in reply, the other VIPs in the green room after we left, my fellow graduates, my family and form others, I feel like I was able to impart a powerful message and perhaps reinforced the seriousness and gravity of our profession, and the impact that our mere words can have.

Retrieved from on July 13th, 2015.
Retrieved from on July 13th, 2015.

The second week of the mid-year break, I spent in Canberra at the 25th Kanga Cup, acting in my capacity as a Referee Assessor, providing coaching, feedback and mentoring young referees at the largest youth football tournament in the southern hemisphere. It is a long, intense and emotional week, as the eight live-in Referee Coaches at the Kanga Cup Youth Referee Academy form strong bonds with each other and the referees whom are part of the Academy, and in my additional role, as the person entering all the data from the referee assessment and coaching forms each day, there is little sleep to be had. I arrived home from Kanga Cup on Saturday at around midday, and that night, was in bed and asleep by 7.30pm, and did not wake until around 9am the next day. Sunday night, I was in bed and asleep by around 9pm and did not wake til 7.30am this morning. I clearly need more sleep to catch up.

It was an amazing week, and as always, it served to remind me why I am involved with Referee Coaching specifically, and football in general. As physically, mentally and emotionally draining as it all ways, however, it still served to refresh me and I feel ready to go and excited for the coming term. There are many photos that can be viewed, if you are interested, on the AusRef flickr account, within the Kanga Cup 2015 album

Today was spent at a staff development day with the schools that are part of the Gosford City Learning Community; Point Clare Public School, Gosford Public School, Gosford High School and Henry Kendall High School. We heard from three speakers, all of whom were excellent, and the next few blog articles will be a review of the learnings from those talks.

As always, thank you for reading, and I look forward to hearing how you spent the mid-year break.