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教师代表Maxwell Panter先生2024届毕业典礼发言

时间:2024-06-20

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Maxwell Panter 老师

Good afternoon, I am honoured to be able to speak to you here today. 


Like many of you this is my fourth year at Guanghua, so it seems fitting that as we began our time at Guanghua together, I get to see you off. You are all going through a period of transition. You have conquered perhaps the greatest challenge of your lives so far and are about to face potentially bigger but equally more exciting trials as you go on to university. Now is a time not only of excitement at future prospects but also of reflection upon your time at Guanghua. What better way to do this than through the words you see emblazoned on school signs every day, 做最好的自己, be the best of yourself.


I am sure many of you, academically driven and intellectually curious as you are, have thought carefully about our school motto before. Equally though, some of you may not have thought much about what this phrase means. I myself must admit that, whilst I was at school, not once did I take the time to ponder the meaning of my school motto. Though, I would argue the motto of my high school, God, Grant, Grace, carries a much less powerful message. So, what does it mean to be the best of oneself? From my perspective it means to be the best version of ‘you’ you can be. To endeavour to do everything to the best of your ability. It doesn’t matter if you are the best at that skill, did better than everyone else in that exam, or in fact did worse than everyone else in that class. What matters is did you do the best that you can do, and are you making progress, regardless of your peers. Moreover, outside the classroom do you handle situations or face obstacles in the best way you possibly can, regardless of outcome.

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This motto encourages us to have a growth mindset, to reflect on our past performances in order to improve for whatever faces us in the future, be it academically, personally or culturally. University will for many of you be the most independent learning time you have had. You will be almost totally in charge of your own study regimen and routines. There will be no teacher there prodding and poking you to hand in homework, focus on a task, or get to class on time. With such high levels of learner autonomy, being a reflective learner is vital in order to thrive. There is no better time to begin putting this in to practice than now in preparation for the next steps in your academic journey.


As you move on to higher education, I hope you look back on your time at Guanghua fondly, but also think seriously about whether you “were the best of yourself” while you were here. Were there times where you gave up too easily? Were there times you chose the easy way out in class by relying on a friend for the answer? Were there commitments you made that you didn’t keep?


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It is an almost unsurmountable expectation to be ‘the best’ all the time. What is more important is to be able to see the times you were not the best version of yourself, reflect on those times, and do better next time. This is not only a useful skill for your academic life but also vital as you move onto adulthood in your first careers and beyond. I remember how uncomfortable I first felt when training to be a teacher and was asked to seriously reflect on and critique my own performance in the classroom. However, it went on to be the part of teacher training that I gained the most from and meant that I became one of my own greatest teachers when striving to improve as an educator. If not for that experience which helped me to grow as a teacher, I may never have had to opportunity to work in a school like Guanghua and meet all you wonderful people! You too will be asked to reflect on your performance in job interviews and professional training no matter what career you pursue, so what better time than now to become comfortable with the process?


Finally, as mentioned before, a significant aspect of reflecting on your actions is their impact upon the future. You are moving forwards into an unknown environment, with many of you moving to the other side of the world, where you will be faced with new experiences, cultures, and opportunities. These may be both positive and negative. What matters is how you respond to them. I am always heartened when I see and hear news of graduating students flourishing at university, making friends from all over the world, seeing new places and enjoying new sensations. Equally though, I am saddened when I see other students responding negatively to these new cultural experiences. You will undoubtably be faced with cultural differences and at times may be tempted to think of these as ‘bad’ or ‘abnormal’ and may even want to turn to social media to express this negativity. Fight the temptation to vent your anger, think to yourself, “am I being the best of myself?”


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I would ask those of you going to travel and study abroad to do so with an open mind. Learn from those other cultures and take on what you think is right or of use. (That being said I recommend avoiding British style Chinese food as you will be in for a nasty shock!!)  At the same time, the beauty of the globalised world we live in is cross-cultural exchange, so vital for helping to build a world of tolerance and harmony at this time of heightened global tensions. And so, I would ask you to also share your culture and ideas with those you encounter in university by being the best of yourself as both an ambassador of Guanghua school and China. Once again congratulations to all of you the graduating class of 2024, and I wish you all the best of luck going forwards, and remember, 做最好的自己.