Valedictorian Speech of Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs 2018

Hear what our valedictorian has to say about the MA SEN




Valedictorian Speech of Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs

Ms Siti Mariam (MA SEN)

DAS Academy Graduation 2018


Good morning faculty members of the University of South Wales and the DAS Academy, honoured guests, colleagues and fellow graduands. Today is a day to be thankful and to be inspired. As nervous as I am standing here today, I am also honoured and humbled to deliver the speech on behalf of the graduates of the Master of Arts in Special Educational Needs, University of South Wales.


I would firstly like to congratulate all my fellow graduates from the University of South Wales and the London Metropolitan University, as well as all the other graduates for the Diploma in Dyslexia Studies, the Specialist Diploma in Educational Therapy and the Specialist Diploma in Specific Learning Differences. Our reasons for being here are many, but our common goal is to graduate. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. Your hard work and dedication has led you to the top. Congratulations on forwarding a step towards the next phase, be it in your life or career.


As someone once said, “Nothing is impossible, the word itself, ‘I’m Possible!”. We all have the possibilities that life has to offer because we have the potential to achieve anything when we put our mind to it. We are the mechanism of our success. However, at times, we are unsure whether we should continue up the stairs to success. This was clearly the case for me when I decided to take up the MA SEN 4 years ago. I felt it was a necessary step, to develop myself professionally, to increase my pedagogical knowledge and to broaden my perspectives on special educational needs. Being a mother of three young children; I had a lot of doubts, a lot of uncertainty. Nevertheless, I, and I am sure my fellow graduands did the same too, ploughed through and climbed those stairs slowly.


I remember the day I submitted my dissertation. The moment I clicked the ‘Submit’ button, I felt like a massive load had been taken off my shoulder. Needless to say, and I’m sure my fellow graduands will resonate with this, the entire journey demanded a lot of sacrifices. From late nights, off days, and even family time. Sacrifices aside, I also had to constantly motivate myself and persevere to work towards the various deadlines I set for myself.


Looking back, it was a sacrifice made worthwhile, considering the impact it has created in my professional development. As a relative new associate lecturer, the knowledge that I have gained has helped me to deliver courses and workshops better, by including new strategies and content, and supporting students with relevant research as well as ensuring that they are in line with current educational trends. As a practising educational therapist, the knowledge I have picked up validates my current classroom practices and helps me appreciate the sound theoretical framework that guides my practice. It also extends my thinking and encourages me to expand my repertoire of teaching approaches with the students.


I also constantly ensure that these approaches stay relevant to the students and remain applicable to the mainstream classroom. No doubt, despite a turbulent learning curve, I, together with my fellow graduates, have reached our destination, and we carry with us a bag of insights of personal growth and a lesson on grit and resilience that we have obtained along the way, and which we want to pass on to others. Each of us has learnt and grown so much, and we hope to inspire others to do the same.


Before I end, I would like to convey my gratitude to a group of people. To Dr. Shirley Egley, my supervisor who, despite our time difference, always found time to guide me and address my never-ending questions. To my colleagues in the DAS and DAC, for always hearing me out and cheering me on all the way to the finishing line. To my family members, for supporting me in their own ways, from the moral support to helping with the kids, especially during the final lap. Thank you.


Once again to all graduates – Congratulations! We fought battles, overcame obstacles. We had a goal, gave it our soul. We worked hard, went the extra yard. We gave it our all, so stand tall. Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go. Keep on learning. Keep on increasing your knowledge and improving your practices in the special educational needs field. Learning is a lifelong process of keeping up with changes. Never stop learning, because change is constant. Embrace new challenges, seize opportunities and surprise yourself. Thank you.


Thank you.