Returning teacher brings passion and enthusiasm to Nayland


Maths teacher Rachael Purdie brings warmth, passion and knowledge to Nayland College’s staff this year as she returns after a break from teaching.

Mrs Purdie began her first teaching role in 2006 at Nayland, then left in 2010 to have her first child. After that, she did relief work at other schools and spent a short time last year being a careers advisor at Nelson College.

Mrs Purdie loves Nayland’s inspirational staff and their focus on building positive relationships and helping students discover learning. “Nayland is a really positive place to be; there is a lovely vibe here,” she said.

“I love working with young people and getting to know students. I love seeing students understanding things that they never thought they would understand and meeting former students out in the world years later and seeing who they have become.”

One of the main things that Mrs Purdie likes about the maths department at Nayland is the focus the learning area has on how it is acceptable to make mistakes and figure things out for yourself. “I love that we are letting people relax about maths and play around with maths and not feel that they’re going to get in trouble for making mistakes,” she said.

A graduate from the University of Otago, Mrs Purdie has a Bachelor of Commerce and Marketing and a Diploma for Graduates in Mathematics. Before taking to teaching, Mrs Purdie worked in banking in Dunedin. Later, she went back to Otago University and graduated with a maths degree, which involved papers on the history of maths and cryptography, which she found “very fun”. Before coming to Nayland, Mrs Purdie also completed a year of secondary-teacher training.

Outside of teaching, Mrs Purdie is passionate about the environment, social justice, people, community and music. In her spare time, Mrs Purdie enjoys being in the outdoors, reading, gardening and attending a singing group. She also loves spending time with her family and friends, often just doing simple things like going on bush-walks and making visits to playgrounds and the library. 

By student reporter Aleisha Smith