English teacher rocks and rolls

Mr Fa'avae helps student

Playing in a band is one of English teacher Brayden Fa’avae’s many talents. “I’m a songwriter, that’s my hobby,” he said.

Mr. Fa’avae has moved to Nelson recently from Christchurch, where he was in a band. He thinks they’ll stay together even though they live in three different parts of the world. “We’ll keep chipping away at things and when we’re all here maybe we might make some other music,” he said.

Moving to Nelson has had positive affects on Mr. Fa’avae’s life. “My brother is here, my dad is here, so it’s really good to reconnect with family,” he said on how the change has made life easier. “Nelson is a little smaller than Christchurch and simpler in some ways.” After  working in Christchurch for nine years he said it was time for a change, and moving back to his hometown felt right.

However, coming to Nayland College hasn’t been too much of a change. In his opinion the students are similar to the ones he knew, even though the timetable and structure of the school is different. He is enthusiastic about all Nayland has to offer. “There’s a good balance between academic culture and sports culture and things here. There’s lots of opportunities.”

Teaching English was something Mr. Fa’avae didn’t plan on until university, where he studied history, politics and classics. “[I] found the results from English were a lot better. It was at that point that I decided to follow the path of less resistance.” He doesn’t plan on moving into becoming a history teacher in the future.

Dramatic move for drama teacher

Mr Bentley has a passion for learning

For as long as he can remember, Anton Bentley has been interested in Drama. From play acting with friends as a child, to major roles in plays such as As You Like It and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, it seemed only natural that he would eventually pursue a career in Drama. However, it was by chance that Mr Bentley was approached by someone about becoming a teacher. “I was directing a show in St Cuthberts in Auckland and someone I knew saw the show and said if you get a teaching degree you can get a job at McLeans and I fell into it that way”.

He started teaching at McLeans college in 2004 and has been teaching ever since. For Mr Bentley the most rewarding part about being a teacher is seeing a student make a breakthrough and do better than they thought they could. “It’s not about necessarily being an excellence student but achieving personal bests and making a break through, really going for it and coming up with something great”.

This desire to see students do their best is evident beyond the classroom setting with Mr Bentley taking on a key role as the Director of Annie Get Your Gun, Nayland’s 2016 school musical. However, growing up Mr Bentley was too inhibited to even audition for his own school show until he reached year twelve. It took for him to realise that it was okay to make a mistake and know that you’ve given it a go and that’s the best you can do. He talks about the importance of a “stuff it – I’m going to give it a go and do it anyway” attitude.

Drama isn’t the only thing that Mr Bentley likes to do and since coming to Nelson he has enjoyed swimming in the Maitai river, going to Zumo for coffee and the relaxed feel of the city. His desire to leave Auckland led him to Nayland and he is so far enjoying his time here.

Changing schools is never an easy task but Mr Bentley is starting to get used to the different culture of Nayland. He is looking forward to the challenges this year will bring and all the projects that are underway. Look out for Mr Bentley as he embraces all that Nayland has to offer.

Post-military passion for digital learning

Mr Patillo introducing the day's lesson to one of his mixed senior classes


From being attached to a U.S amphibious assault ship during conflict in Somalia to teaching our very own digital tech classes at Nayland, Edward Pattillo’s life leading up to his move from Texas to New Zealand is a fascinating one. His insights into the military politics of what happened in Somalia and it’s messy nature were intriguing, and when asked if this played some part in him leaving the military he chuckled that in fact the reasoning behind it was purely romantic.

He met a girl while serving in the navy and moved to Perth.“Western Australia more specifically and we so called fell in love and all that nonsense”.

Pattillo completed a Bachelor in Multimedia while he was living in Australia, graduated in 2004 and developed a fascination with digital education and E-learning. He also did cognitive psychology and education related topics in that field, subsequently discovering his passion for education. “I decided that I just like teaching! My mother, grandmother and auntie are all teachers they just do that y’know. I love it, there’s always something to learn, I’m always inspired” he said.

Mr Pattillo graduated from his teacher training in 2005 in Christchurch. He spoke about the nature of education and his thoughts on New Zealand being ahead of the rest of the world in terms of how our schools work. On this subject he spoke about his passion and how  “Teaching is one of the most satisfying things a person can do”.

Student driven subjects and how NCEA caters to individualized learning really fits into his idea of “not putting square pegs into round holes.”

Pattillo takes two year 13 classes, two year 12 classes and one year 10. His classes run in a student driven fashion which encourages learning in fields that students are individually interested in. Pattillo is extremely enthusiastic about technology and learning, two essential traits of a teacher in this field making his presence at Nayland entirely positive not only for the digital tech department but for the college as a whole.