Piece of pi for the new guy

Crawford prepares for next class

‘Patient’ is one word Nayland’s latest addition to the maths department, Ben Crawford,  would use to describe both himself and his approach to teaching.

A Canadian native, Mr Crawford, attended teachers’ college in Canterbury after studying for a degree in mathematics at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

One of the reasons Mr Crawford decided to pursue teaching was to repay past influential teachers. “A good friend of mine at the time was a retired teacher and he thought just that my patience and my demeanor would be really well suited for teaching.”

A love of maths began before this when he discovered he was naturally good at it at a younger age.

Mr Crawford believes the key contrast between both countries is the sheer size of Canada in comparison to New Zealand.

[Canada’s] “got everything New Zealand has, it’s just on a much bigger scale. You typically can’t drive from the mountains to either coast in a few hours.”

Aside from teaching, Mr Crawford takes leisure in anything that involves the beach and outdoor activities such as mountain biking and squash. He hopes to embark on more kite surfing after being captivated by the sport on a recent trip to Fiji.

One of 3 brothers, Mr Crawford’s siblings have also achieved well in their careers. His older brother works for a major bank while his younger brother works for Toyota.

In his own career, Mr Crawford finds that teaching challenges him positively.  He believes teaching students helps him to think young.

He believes in not giving up, even when situations become difficult. “How many times do you have to get on the board before you stay on the board?” he asked.

Competitive by nature

Tayler Boeyen: Tessa (right front) enjoying lunchtime with junior students

Discipline and teamwork are just a couple of personal attributes that Tessa Riley has learned through the CACTUS programme this year. Being a medic in the army has been a career choice for Tessa for a while now and CACTUS has aided Tessa in getting there faster.  “[CACTUS] will look good when I apply because it’s something connecting me to the army and it’s not like I just woke up one day and was like ‘I wanna do it’,” she said. “That’s hopefully what I do and I’m just trying to make myself as competitive as I can for that.”

The ten week programme puts a lot of physical pressure on the students. They have to be at the Nelson Girls’ gym at 6am and run everywhere, lifting things like logs and tyres up Russell Street.  Afterwards they continue on with a normal school day. Tessa looks forward to the testing sessions because they are the lightest ones on the programme.

She says that because it is all army based fitness, it will help with her own so she will be prepared for the army testing.

Tessa has to balance the programme with school work and her extra curricular activities. She played volleyball for a portion of the season and is playing netball in the upcoming few months. Tessa is a very team focused person and likes getting to know other people from different year levels, both juniors and seniors.

Sport has helped her to manage her time better so that she can fit all her commitments in. “I have gotten used to having to plan things out and used to being busy and having to work things around and being a bit more organised. I am quite busy so I have to try make the time when I can to actually study.”

Fitting in being a Cottage Contact, a member on the Sports Council and a Student Leader means that Tessa will have a full on year, but she intends to not let any one aspect fail. “I want to stay involved in things and to not do anything half-assed and don’t want to let people down and not do something fully.”

The Student Leader position was not something that she believed she would hold and was surprised when she got it. “I guess because you have been here for 5 years and you see what things could be improved, why not try it? I just wanted to put my own spin on it.”

This is the first year at Nayland that there have been Student Leader siblings and Tessa finds this both helpful and difficult. “It’s good for if we forget meeting or formal clothes but it’s a bit different because when we’re at school at meetings, we’re not brother and sister. We have to remain civil and we can’t fight or anything else so we have to remain like were more friends instead of related,” she said.

She is set apart from her other siblings that have been through the school because she prefers to do work in the background. Rather than being a loud “ra ra” kind of person, she tends to sit back and do things behind the scenes and will be motivated if there is an opportunity.

Social scientist with rhythm joins ranks at Nayland College

Miss Cunningham in the classroom

Before Amy Cunningham became a teacher she was a musician, bringing cheer to others through her music. She drove all around North America playing up to four shows a week and managed to organise all of it. Miss Cunningham was dedicated to the musical scene for 15 years. “It was really good…and exhausting,” she said.

The main force behind Miss Cunningham’s musical nature was the fact that she grew up in a musical family, watching her grandpa perform on stage from when she was two and seeing her dad always playing guitar around the house. Besides that she was always drawn to sing, “I just started when I was young and I don’t know why.” Apart from singing and playing the guitar Miss Cunningham also enjoys yoga, tramping and camping. “I play outside a lot” she said.

One of the most important things to Miss Cunningham is being a good person. “I think it’s important to feel empathy for others” she explained. When she went to volunteer in South Africa she felt that it had a huge impact on her experience of the world around her as she noticed how happy the people were even though they were struggling.

Miss Cunningham grew up in Canada. She says that it is similar to New Zealand in a lot of ways, often being colder in the winter, being filled with really nice people and having everything you need covered. It’s a “pretty easy place to be” she said.

Teaching social studies fits Miss Cunningham quite well. She said that she was always the type of person to stand back and watch as things happened in front of her. She often tries to understand an issue, analyse it and be critical of it. If she disagrees she will take action and fight against it. “I think it matches with who I am” she said.

In Miss cunningham’s eyes, spending her days teaching isn’t such a bad thing. “You’re never bored, ever, something interesting is always happening” she said, and she likes doing what she is passionate about everyday. However, she admits that it can be hard at times. “When you care about stuff you always want to do your best” she explained.

When Miss Cunningham looks back she says that “the things that made me grow as a person the most, they were always experiences.” She feels that if people don’t know exactly how to get involved in something that they’re passionate about, they should just go with their gut and get into it. “Starting is the hardest part” she said.

Brass band beginnings for new music teacher

Mr Weeks sets up to tutor

New music teacher at Nayland, Nigel Weeks became interested in music in his hometown in South Wales. “My friends were playing in the local brass band in Tredegar where I grew up and I just went along to see what it was like and then never looked back.”

Mr Weeks said the real importance of music is that people have the opportunity to take part in some kind of music making. “Unfortunately, students in some schools are not experiencing music at a young enough age,” he explains.

Tredegar is a small coal mining town in the UK. “The town has a clock in its square and it was a very cultural place to grow up,” he said. Gardening, searching through antique shops and playing squash are some of Nigel’s hobbies he enjoys in his spare time. Cycling is something he wants to get into to discover all the wonderful cycle tracks. “I might buy a bike though it will have to be one with an electric motor for the journey home!”

Mr Weeks embraces the challenge of working with people of all ages and watching them progress as they learn new things which is why he became a music teacher. He encourages students to study music. “Just give any opportunity a go. Music is fun and rewarding. You will just go from strength to strength.”

Back into sport and leadership

Taylah holds up the Wicken Trophy for doing what she loves

Selected three years ago for the New Zealand Elite Touch Academy, a back injury prevented Taylah Kirker from attending. Now she is back into sport, as well as being one of 2016’s Student Leaders.

A committed sports player, Taylah spends her free time involved in touch, netball and basketball.

“I was always quite a tomboy growing up. We had a farm in Murchison so we’d spend heaps of time down there. I was always on the touch field” she said.

Outside of school, she spends a lot of her time training, playing and travelling with sport. She is also interested in music, with broadcasting as her number one career preference.

A natural leader, Taylah has been involved in leadership roles ever since she was a child. “I was bossy from a young age, that’s for sure” she said.

One of the first opportunities that she pursued was a place in her primary school’s council. She also became one of the first sports leaders at Tahunanui School.

She admitted that she was pushed to pursue the role as one of Nayland College’s Student Leaders by her older brother in a case of sibling rivalry.

“My brother was a student leader when I was year eight, so ever since he got it I was like, ‘I want to get that too, I want to be better than my brother’. I think it was him pushing me the most to get it” she said.

Taylah is confident about influencing the school in a positive way.”I hope to make a difference. Everyone says that they want to do this but I want to be the one who does make the change.”

Through being a student leader, she wants to become broader and step outside her comfort zone. “I’m not a shy person but there’s certain things that I just don’t want to do. To develop more as a person would be my main goal.”

Cullen slam dunks leadership role

Cullen Riley wants to pursue leadership on and off the court

Being the only male in the Riley’s triplet trio has guided Cullen to be the confident leader that he is today. This has resulted in him achieving a Nayland college student leader role for 2016, alongside his sister Tessa.

Cullen is one of triplets and this contributes to his strong connection to family. He has always aspired to be like his older brother Angus since a young age. This influenced him to apply for the student leader role. “I look up to him, he’s my brother,” Cullen said. Angus also achieved Nayland College student leader in his final year in 2012.

Basketball has always been an important aspect of Cullen’s life . His passion began from a young age after watching Angus play.  He now plays professionally in the USA. “ I mean he’s one reason why I carried it on,” Cullen explained. Cullen has played in the Nayland college senior A team since year 10 and now plays a key leadership role within the team.  He hopes to see the Nayland team qualify for nationals this year, building on last year’s performance.

Tahunanui Primary supplied Cullen with “a great bunch of life long friends.” He believes that the friends he has gained have been the reason that he has stayed so grounded at school and continued to have such a passion in leadership. Cullen hopes to attend Victoria University next year to study a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in economics and marketing.

Geography trip rocks

The class travels back in time at Shantytown

An annual event on the geography calendar for Nayland College is the year 12 trip to the West Coast and this year did not disappoint.

Over the course of two days, from the 14th-16th of March, Gavin Dickson’s class investigated the natural landscape of the West Coast and how people use it.  The research was conducted near Westport and focussed on whether or not to mine the Denniston Plateau.  The group also investigated the issue of tourism on the West Coast.  They will apply this knowledge in two internal assessments and an external assessment later in the year.

In recent years many coal mines and gold mines have closed down.  This made previously available locations inaccessible for the class to visit.  For this reason, the emphasis of the trip this year was shifted more towards the tourism aspect of the area. Activities such as visiting Shantytown, Punakaiki, the Metro Caves, riding a steam train and panning for gold were offered to the students, who took full advantage of the opportunities.

Mr Dickson noted the high level of engagement of students, as they each took responsibility for the information they needed to collect, such as photos and interviews for their research. “I was there facilitating, not dominating the situation,” Mr Dickson said.

For Year 12 student Caitlin Reid, who participated on the trip, there were many highlights and she learnt a lot. “We were able to look at things from a different perspective, looking at it how other tourists see it,” she said.

On the last day the group had the opportunity to visit Shantytown, a tourist attraction replicating what life would have been like on the West Coast in the 1860’s. The enthusiasm of the students at dressing up as Victorian-era men and women and performing various tasks meant everybody who participated learnt a lot by having fun.

The West Coast is a popular choice as the destination for geography assessments because it still remains a very natural environment. “It is has a very distinct climate and land forms,” Mr Dickson said.

As well as this, it provides insight for the students into the current economic and social situation that has resulted from the mine closures, where many West Coasters have lost their jobs and significant industries have shut down due to the decreased need for coal.

Dickson finds inspiration for teaching and taking an interest in geography from the fact that the world is forever changing.  “There’s always something new and exciting.”

Production armed and loaded

Cast members have fun while learning dance moves

Annie get your Gun is a musical about a group of traveling performers who go from town to town challenging people to rifle competitions. Annie, a young girl from this group, wants to be the best at shooting. She is also in love with the best shooter around, Frank Butler. Mr. Bentley, Nayland’s drama teacher, and Mr Weeks, Nayland’s music teacher, have chosen this Western themed musical for the 2016 production.

Lead actress Casey Crocker thinks the message of this story is especially important to girls. Annie Oakly wins against the best shooter, Frank Butler, and proves women can shoot. “A lot of girls believe they aren’t good enough for specific gender roles,” she says about her character being thought of as not good enough to shoot because of her gender. The character is very headstrong and proves herself to her community.

The cast didn’t know what the production would be when they auditioned but are now very excited about working on it. Crocker is looking forward to working with many new people this term. She’s most excited about “working with the entire cast and with the directors.” Production director Mr. Bentley is excited about what everyone will bring to the show. “It’s going to be a new experience here working with different teams of people. I really like the collaborative nature of working on a show,” he said.

Mr. Weeks and Mr. Bentley will be co-directing Annie get your Gun. “We [have] got to agree on what we want to do and the casting. Mr. Weeks is in charge of what it sounds like, and I’m in charge of everything else,” Mr. Bentley explained.

The show will be held August 5-11th, with rehearsals already well underway. An intensive term is in store for all those involved.