Inside the Teacher’s Classroom, episode 3

“If you are going to do something in teaching you have to be able to do it, not just talk about it, you must lead by doing.”

In this episode, Simon Smith is our expert navigator, leading us on a path through history. One moment we are with him on a Whitbread yacht on the South Seas, the next we are labouring beside him at the Wellington Barracks in London. Always, though, his spiritual heart remains within New Zealand and our Pupuke community.

Simon attended Westlake as a student and taught at the school for 40 years. He remembers fondly a  teacher from his Westlake student days, Hugh Willis, who suggested that a teacher must have a passion for their subject and a compassion for their students. Over his career, Simon built a legacy of excellence as a teacher, dean and faculty leader. It is no exaggeration to suggest that there are thousands of Westlake old boys who would list him as their favourite teacher. We get many glimpses in this episode as to why, as Simon touches upon a diverse range of historical subjects, with insight and passion. And it is perhaps this passion, for his subject, his teaching and his students, which stands out more than anything as a marker for his success.

“Passion, for me, is number one.”

Simon on the helm

Simon on the helm in the Southern Ocean

Links to topics discussed in this episode:

Whitbread / Volvo Round the World Race

Peter Blake

Colditz Castle

The Battle of the Somme

Rommel quote – If I had to take hell, I would use the Australians to take it and the New Zealanders to hold it.”


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