A Day with Matthew Hall, Vice-Principal and History Teacher

Matthew Hall is the vice-principal and teaches history to Years 11 and 12 at SIS Zürich. In the following article, he lays out a typical Monday. Matthew teaches history in the morning and spends the remainder of the day fulfilling administrative responsibilities.

06:00 My day starts by making sure that my own boys, both teenagers, manage to get up, get ready for school and get to the train station on time. This is quite often a challenge; whilst not quite the definition of a busman’s holiday, their early morning apathy reminds me that early starts are far from ideal for teenagers, and to treat our students with care and respect.

07:05 I hop on the train from Andelfingen. This gives me just under an hour to catch up on e-mails, take notes for my upcoming meetings, or do some reading around the history topics that we will be covering in the upcoming weeks. It is always nice to have the walk from Stettbach train station to the school in the mornings to get a little bit of exercise and blow away any residual cobwebs.

08:00 Arriving at school, I make sure that all my things are in place to teach the first class of the day, and touch bases with the principal and the office team.

08:30 The school day begins with a single period of Year 12 history. We are currently studying the Cold War. Whether discussing readings, exploring sources, watching video clips or debating, my role is to breathe life into the past and help the students by making historical events relevant to this generation.


My favourite part of teaching history is student participation: witnessing students make direct connections between events, say in the 1960s, and current world events, or encouraging them to engage with their families and hear their experiences of life during the Cold War.

09:15 With my teaching commitments for the day fulfilled, it is time to focus on administration. The first thing to do is catch up with the leadership team to review our jobs for the rest of the week. Following that, there is time to respond to inquiries from families, faculty and staff, to visit classes and to prepare for upcoming events.

14:00 The college leadership team meet to discuss all aspects of the upper school, from concerns to positives and upcoming events and everything in between.

15:00 The focus of the day shifts to primary and kindergarten, as the school leadership team meet with the heads of those sections to review the past week and look forward to the next, but most importantly, to support them in their work.

17:00 18:00 As the working day draws to an end, the train ride home allows time to refocus my energies to help my sons with their daily concerns and worries. 


First publication in emphaSIS Switzerland, 2023

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