Science teacher passionate about making it practical


Science teacher Maria van den Berg brings much experience and knowledge to her role, as she joins the staff at Nayland College this term.

Originally from South Africa, Mrs van den Berg specialised in biology, botany and zoology, while studying there. She also took chemistry and physics, which she taught for the first several years after the completion of her study.

In 2000, Mrs van den Berg moved over to New Zealand and began teaching at Pakuranga College in Auckland. She taught there for 17 years, before moving to Nelson.

Here at Nayland, Mrs van den Berg teaches four junior general science classes and one Year 11 sports science class, which involves a little bit of biology.

When she was a student, learning about science involved a lot of textbook work. That is why as a science teacher, Mrs van den Berg wants her students to experience the practical sides of things. She likes working with students that are interested learners and are keen to improve their knowledge.

What Mrs van den Berg likes about science is that it has “application and relevance in the real world”, especially with how biology relates to health, wellness and the environment. “I really want to share that knowledge with the students,” she said.

At Nayland, Mrs van den Berg has enjoyed seeing seniors lead assemblies and try to get everyone involved, as well as the opportunities available for students, and the values promoted by the school, such as respect. “Nothing can go wrong if we have respect for each other,” she said.

In her spare time, Mrs van den Berg enjoys going for rides with her husband on his motorbike and doing craft, such as making teddy bears. She also values spending time with her family, particularly her daughters who live in Auckland.

Mrs van den Berg is a seasoned traveler too. Within New Zealand, she has traveled all around the North Island and as far South as Stewart/Rakiura Island. Internationally, she has visited Europe and the Seychelles.

By student reporter Aleisha Smith