Meet Sue Clements, South Wales Branch Education Coordinator
I entered the teaching profession in my thirties, after leaving grammar school at 16, working in the civil service, getting married, having two children and moving house five times in ten years with my husband’s job. In between all this I also managed to go to university and obtain my degree in English.
I spent most of my working life teaching in a Welsh valley’s comprehensive school. On ‘retiring’ I was offered a part-time teaching post in Cardiff Sixth Form College where I initially taught English to international students. This was not too challenging as I had spent my summer holidays for a number of years ‘working’, in India, in a foundation for orphaned and destitute children which is run by a very good friend of mine. I say ‘working’ as this was, and still is, such a fantastic experience and I am so proud of the achievements of the children I taught there. Many now have degrees and wonderful jobs.
Cardiff Sixth Form College opened up new opportunities, one of which was taking over the small debate society (approximately eight students). Here I found a real passion for a debating world that I previously knew nothing about. We now have a debate committee of eight students who organise the weekly Debate Society as well as another committee running the MUN society. For the past six years we have won through to the Oxford and Cambridge Debate Finals and won the Welsh Schools Finals. Now, approximately 50 students attend this society every week. I have also had students in Team Wales for the World Championships for the past six years. For two years I took on the role of Manager for Team Wales, travelling to the World Championships in Croatia, Bangkok and mini championships in Chennai India.
Besides my new passion for debate, I enjoy many hobbies, including walking, travelling and yoga. My husband and I have travelled all over India by all sorts of transport. We really enjoy visiting unusual places and hope to do the Silk Road next year!
I really would like to develop public speaking and debate in S. Wales as I have come to realise how important these skills are for life. Our young people deserve to have their horizons widened and to be encouraged to develop the confidence to apply to the top universities.