Chris Silvester

Why did you decide to pursue a career in teaching?

Redundancy forced me to evaluate my career options and having done some teaching in a school I knew that I loved teaching and mathematics was definitely the subject I wanted to teach.

Did your background prepare you sufficiently for a career in teaching?

I knew I needed to top up my subject knowledge because my degree in Sport Recreational Management did not contain enough mathematics for entry on to a Secondary Mathematics PGCE course.  The two year course here at Newport is perfect; my subject knowledge has been boosted and it will lead me to qualified teacher status (QTS) at the same time.  

Was there support available during the course?

I have been fortunate that my wife is a teacher and knows the work load of gaining QTS so she has been great support. The university mentors and lecturers are always there to help when needed, if you are in trouble or stuck with anything, just ask! Plus on placement the school mentors have been valuable; with their experience they have helped me become a better teacher.


What did you learn from your school placements?

The school placements can be daunting to begin with, but after two weeks observing classes, you just want to get involved and teach. These are scary at first, but believe me, the satisfaction you get from that pupil who is stuck has finally understood the lesson that YOU delivered is a great feeling. The only thing that I will comment on with regards to your placement is ASK! If in doubt ASK! If I am stuck I’ll ask, some might see it as a sign of weakness, but I see it as a sign of improvement and a willingness to learn.

What advice would you give to those thinking of a career in teaching?

My advice to anyone considering training as a teacher is to imagine the best teacher you had, when you were in school. What stood out for you in that teacher? Think about what you have that you can offer this profession and compare it to that teacher. If you can identify yourself to being like your favourite teacher then you’re halfway there. Don’t become a teacher just for the holidays, as they are a good thing, but the job never stops at 3pm, so please go into this profession with your eyes open and know that there will be some hard times ahead, but the best things are worth working for!

North and Mid Wales Centre of Teacher Education  South East Wales Centre for Teacher Education South West Wales Centre for Teacher Education