SPOTLIGHT – SIMON HALL
The Spotlight shines on our new IB coordinator and Teacher of Psychology, Simon Hall.
Simon’s English roots are in Kent, while his Swiss roots are in the Bernese Highlands. Having started his schooling in England, he left for Norway when 15 to attend a ski academy, and then stayed abroad for his Psychology Bachelor’s degree in leafy Vermont, USA. After a post-grad gap year working in the jungles of Ecuador and Borneo he returned to the UK for his teacher training and began a 15 year journey through schools in Tenterden, Auckland, Lewes, Sevenoaks and now Warminster. His wife, Sarah, is a fellow teacher and their three children have just started in the wonderful prep school following an amazing family gap year motor homing around Europe.
How long have you worked at Warminster?
What are you looking forward to in your new role?
Being IB coordinator means I get to work with staff from all across the Senior School, which is something I am really looking forward to. The other thing I will really enjoy is sharing my passion for the IB and enabling more pupils to access the benefits it has to offer them and the School community.
Why the IB?
I genuinely believe the IB is the best programme of study pupils can do in the sixth form. Firstly, it is more than a qualification; its mission is to create a better, more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect, which is hard to argue with. Secondly, it promotes the development of key character traits such as creativity, being caring, inquiry, risk-taking, and open-mindedness which are better predictors of future success and wellbeing than any grades. Thirdly, the IBDP and IBCP have so much flexibility in them that they can be tailored to suit each and every pupil's personal needs and ambitions. Finally, the research suggests that IB students get more and better university offers, adjust better to university life, and are better able to pursue the careers of their choice in creative, effective and fulfilling ways.
Describe a typical Warminster day?
After waving my children off to the Prep School, I have a commute of about 3 minutes to the office where I will say a quick hello to Mrs Walmsley before jumping onto the computer to read and respond to the various emails that are already starting to come in. After tutor time it will be a series of lessons, meetings, a quick lunch, more lessons, IB admin and then some fun Greenzone or EDGE activity like running club, Ultimate Frisbee or DofE. Final response to late emails and some prep for the following day’s lessons before heading home to catch up with the family over dinner. Repeat the next day, perhaps with some Forest School thrown in there too!
What do you think makes Warminster a special place to live and learn?
The honest answer is that I don’t know yet, having only been here a month. My first impression, however, is that the people here are warm, friendly and welcoming, and it is a school that really knows and cares about its pupils. Warminster is also set in a wonderful part of the country that I have already been really enjoying exploring by foot and by bike.
What would surprise us about you?
I used to race on the GB junior alpine ski team.
What other Warminster role would you like to try for a day and why?
I’d quite enjoy being an Art teacher for the day, not because I am any good at Art, but the studios are full of really cool, inspiring student work. Driving some of the maintenance team vehicles also looks quite fun.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
Policeman first, and then an Olympic athlete.
What did your school reports say about you?
Model student, of course!
Your note/advice to teenage self?
Stop letting your older brother beat you in races; you can do better than that!
Your mantra/motto or favourite quote?
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there” Theodore Roosevelt
Hidden ambitions still to achieve?
I’ve done a couple of Ironman races, but I am pretty keen to now try Adventure Racing – perhaps not the 10-day Eco Challenge in Fiji, but something that will get me pushing my boundaries.
A favourite possession you would save from a fire?
Not very attached to anything really, except my family and 2 pet cats.
Consumerism and laziness.
I’m stuck back in the 90s with groups like Pearl Jam, Queen and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Dark chocolate and Calvin and Hobbes cartoons.
What would be your MasterChef signature dish?
Veggie risotto – it is pretty much the only thing I’ve ever cooked that my wife has been impressed by!
Favourite TV programme?
Last book you read?
Humankind, by Rutger Bregman
Last movie watched?
The Social Dilemma
Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?
I was once told I looked like Ryan Gosling – must have been strange lighting and angle. Whoever the actor is, the narrator would have to Morgan Freeman!
Not a big drinker, but you could probably force me to sip on a nice, cool cider at the end of a long day.
Favorite place/city in the world and why?
Oppdal, Norway, because of the stunning mountains, lakes, wildlife, outdoor lifestyle and great childhood memories.
Twitter or Facebook?
Neither, apart from the IB twitter posts which are great!