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Good evening, honoured guests, fellow graduands, friends and family members. My name is Nicholas Panzram and I am honoured tonight to deliver the 2014 School of Education and Humanities Graduates’ Address.

 

There is a movie I recently watched called Waiting for Superman, a film about the struggles of the American education system. The title of the film is based off the belief of one African American boy, that sometime in the future Superman would come and save him and his friends from the life of poverty and hopelessness they were living. The movie reveals his journey of discovery – eventually realising that superman was never coming, he was simply waiting for a person who did not exist. As graduate teachers we receive tonight far more than a piece of paper with our name on it; and our QLD College of Teacher’s Registration places in our hands far more than a number. Tonight as we don our capes we take up our place in the ranks of thousands of other teachers and educators as everyday super heroes.

 

Teachers use many tools, some tangible and others only felt through heart, some of them heavy and some light, but all of them used so that children across the world no longer have to wait for their superhero.

 

As teacher’s we wear capes:

Of all colours and shapes. Capes are for protection, both our own and others, they shield our students from harsh and overbearing ideas, from negativity, hate and despair. They shield us from late nights, too much coffee, pressures of society, words spoken too hastily and, those days when all seems too much, they offer a comforting place to curl up in. Capes represent our uniqueness as teachers and people. Not one of us will have the same cape, some will be red, other green some a spectacular array of colour and texture.

 

We wear hats of humility:

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he writes, ‘be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love’. Paul’s letter places humility as a necessity in life, vital in order survive the turmoil of everyday life. As teachers life can become focussed on ‘me and my classroom’, wearing a hat of humility allows us to step back with strength and accept that we don’t exist in a vacuum. In those moments of stress, anger or worry, place your hat of humility upon your head and humble yourself, knowing that help may only be a phone call or conversation away.

 

  We slip into shoes of daring:

Teaching is by no means a simple task and every lesson involves some degree of risk, ‘ will Jo understand this’ have I scaffolded that task enough? And many more questions race through your mind, as you stand before those 25 smiling faces. In those moments may your shoes of daring dance into play. Job (23.10) writes that ‘God knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.’ Those testing moments of insecurity, of stepping into the unknown are known and carried by a loving God who proudly walks with you as your shoes of daring carry you far beyond your dreams.

 

Our Hearts beat a rhythm of hope:

Paul in his letter to the Romans commands them to, ‘Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.’ All three require a heart of that beats a rhythm of hope, a hope and trust that whilst not everything goes perfectly, that the moments our students spend with us full of love, learning and hope. Teaching requires patience not only towards others but ourselves, waiting and understanding that at 3am its probably time to let the marking or planning go and simply wait till tomorrow. May your heart beat a rhythm of quiet patience and your actions and words deliver a tangible element of a faith in yourself, your students and a loving God.

 

My your eyes be those of Truth:

Teaching is in its simplest form the shaping and giving of knowledge and skills. Having eyes that recognise truth and honesty in what we teach, what we say and do, is vital in journeying with students towards a future of a better world. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, writes, ‘Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,’ My your measure of truth always remain what is ultimately in line with Christ’s teachings and an honest heart. A world full of hate, anger and pain, requires teachers with eyes of truth to discern and explain and provide a path for students to grow and learn as strong, wise and love filled people.

 

The journey to acquire these super powers has been by no measure an easy one and the learning doesn’t stop here, but will continue in each and every moment of your day. The friendships fostered, the laughs, the tears, the nerves and many more emotions all seem worth while when you realise you are now the superhero. The point I want to make is that our experiences up to now and into the future shape who our superhero selves are. Is your cape fiery and passionate or your hat broad brimmed and well used? Your superhero self is no mistake or fluke but a carefully planned person, crafted by hand to hold students firmly in your arms and carry them with whatever tools you have into the future. To those many hands thankyou does simply not seem enough! Teaching is not static nor is it ever stationary, it stretches and breathes and does so differently for every teacher, every day. And some days your cape may get a little torn and that hat a little dusty, but know in your heart of hearts that to a child somewhere you will remain their superhero. Thankyou, God Bless and goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Citipointe Christian College: Adapted Address to the 2014 Annual Presentation of Awards Night Secondary

by Pastor Ron Woolley, Headmaster

 

 

Professor Roger Scruton, distinguished British writer, philosopher and public commentator, in his book, Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged, identifies culture as a source of knowledge: emotional knowledge, concerning what to do and what to feel. We transmit this knowledge through ideals and examples, images, narratives and symbols, the forms and rhythms of music, the orders and patterns of our built environment. Such cultural expressions come about as a response to the perceived fragility of human life, and embody a collective recognition that we depend on things outside our control. Every culture therefore has its root in religion, and from this root the sap of moral knowledge spreads through all the branches of speculation and art. An authentically Christian education seeks to preserve what is good, true and beautiful.

Plato thought these were so intertwined as to be inseparable.

 

There was a time in our schools and universities, when Christian faith formed the bedrock for learning. Today, as Professor Scruton, notes: our civilisation has been uprooted. But when a tree is uprooted it does not always die. Sap may find its way to the branches, which break into leaf each spring with the perennial hope of living things.

 

Thoughtful parents looking for Christian faith-based education in 21st century Australia have to go private and pay for it, as it is scarcely to be found in our public institutions. And despite this perception of Australia as secular, since the 1970s parents by the droves have voted with their feet, put their hands deeply into their pockets, and moved their children to private schools, where 84% of schools have a religious faith connection.

 

Many parents, it seems, are not so easily beguiled by sections of a prevailing educational elite which would have us believe that Christian faith belongs with the fairy tales of less evolved generations. Professor Scruton has elsewhere commented about prominent atheist Richard Dawkins and his followers who: have recycled the theory of evolution not as a biological theory but as a theory of everything – of what the human being is, what human communities are, what our problems are and how they’re not really our problems, but the problems of our genes: we’re simply answers that our genes have come up with, and it’s rather awful to be the answer to someone else’s question, especially when that thing is not a person at all. Nevertheless people swallow that.

 

Recently I attended a public meeting where an eminent educator from a prestigious university was critiquing the Review of the Australian Curriculum. Although the professor made some attempt to be fair and factual, it was evident that he willingly self-identified with “the educational left” – the prevailing elite I referred to above. His beliefs coloured his remarks.

 

But I remember an earlier time and a different type of education: an education grounded on fairly solid religious  underpinnings. This ultimately gave way to a “modern” education, a result of the social revolution of the 1960s. Its secular legacy resides primarily in our public education systems, and the damage is not just to learning, but also to our culture.

 

I’m not against modernising but I challenge the right of the prevailing educational elite to sever education from its bedrock, its moorings, which is our western Judaeo-Christian tradition. Uninvited they have imposed on us their culture of repudiation, particularly determined to marginalise or remove every vestige of religious faith from our institutions of learning.

 

Providing a further example of the destructive nature of this, Professor Scruton writes: to those who doubt this, I point to the example of Islam, contrasting what it was when it had a genuine culture with what it is today, when that culture is remembered only by powerless scholars, and belligerent ignorance is without the voices that might have corrected it.

 

Is our culture heading in that direction?

 

Citipointe seeks to develop the kind of education where (using Professor Scruton’s words): the sap (of moral knowledge) may find its way to the branches, which break into leaf each spring with the perennial hope of living things. It is hardly enough, in my opinion, to have private Christian schools, wonderful though that is in providing thoughtful parents with a genuine schooling alternative to a more vacuous secular education.

 

Professor Darren Iselin (former Citipointe teacher and parent) deserves every support as he and his Deans build on the legacy of Emeritus Professor Brian Millis OAM (Citipointe’s third headmaster) that is Christian Heritage College. It is imperative that the invigorating sap of Christian faith flourish again in the higher education sector, where authentically Christian universities could provide a faithful witness. The higher education reforms currently being considered by Parliament deserve support as they may foster the development of such institutions.

 

Not that Christian schools and universities alone will repair our culture, but they will play a part. Invigorating an educated, faithful Christian presence will help counter the cultural damage that has regrettably occurred, We need to respect our cultural heritage and resist those determined to create on a quite different base an uncertain Australian future.

 

I have used Professor Scruton’s thoughts on culture to present a strong case for supporting private Christian education. I have previously acknowledged that this is not easy and it’s not cheap. Recognising that, I honour and thank parents who have committed to that burden and have sought to provide their children with a morally and culturally sound education that should robustly prepare them for their future.

 

Pastor Ron Woolley

Headmaster

 

Emerald Christian College are seeking a PE Teacher.

 

Further information is attached

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Letter to Graduating Year 12 Students

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 I heard this book recommended by Simon Sinek (Start With Why) and that was enough to persuade me to read it. For those who don’t like suspense, I’ll start with the punchline: read it.

 I have read other books about what Marquet calls the ‘leader-leader’ paradigm (Multipliers, for a start), but this is systematic, clear, devoid of theoretical kite flying and refreshingly practical. Marquet tells us what he did, and why he did it. He had to take over a nuclear submarine, the performance of which had been rock bottom, and he had six months to turn it into a highly effective fighting force. That he chose to do so in a way which went totally against the culture of the US Navy, and that he got backing to do so, is remarkable. For me the one issue which is not unpacked in the book is that Marquet was clearly line-managed by a commander who was willing to let him impose his own leadership (non) style. The bracketed word will make sense after you have read the book.

 Two tips for those who take my advice and read this book: look out for the phrase ‘I intend to...’ and note the careful intentionality of the way in which all his reports were expected to do their jobs. The fact that giving away power, taking away control, led to both being as much in evidence is one of those marvellous paradoxes of human behaviour. This is a real must-read for those who lead organisations, of whatever size.

One word of caution - I always start books of this sort with a determination to read them for the nuggets. Most books on how to lead or manage better have a small number of superb tips. This is no exception: don’t be disappointed by all the things that don’t transfer from a nuclear submarine to your organisation.

Richard Backhouse, Principal Monkton Combe Bath UK

http://www.athinkinghead.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/book-review-turn-ship-around-by-david.html

 

 

Annual Report 2014 (2013 data)

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