New maths teacher a valuable addition to Nayland


While Nayland has seen a number of new teachers make the move down from Auckland, Anna Playford and her family have joined us from another direction: Sydney, Australia.

Ms Playford moved here with her husband, her two kids and her cat Taffy. She firmly believes that Nelson is “the bee’s knees” and an incredible place to live. Especially important to her is the Nelson Lakes area, where her great grandfather used to hunt deer – though she’s not too keen on hunting herself. Thanks to the family bach, the lakes are exactly where her grandmother, mother, and she herself each grew up spending their summers. “I just get there and go, ‘oh my god, there is nowhere more beautiful in the world.’”

A keen lover of the outdoors, Ms Playford enjoys tramping, biking, skiing and water-skiing with her family. “Nothing too hardcore though – people here will hear you like biking and assume you mean off a cliff,” she laughed.

Ms Playford has had a long-time passion for maths. Before teaching, she was an actuary for thirteen years – the person that crunches the numbers for insurance companies. Though the career suited her well, she realized that interacting with people was more interesting to her than sitting behind a desk all day, and decided to start teaching.

For Ms Playford, teaching is all about the “aha” moment she’s able to provide students with. She’s often told that she’s very good at taking complex things and making them simple to understand. “I love the moment when a student finally gets something, and how it can make them feel about themselves.”

She has taught at the all-girls Burwood High School back in Sydney, and since moving to Nelson, she has spent time relief teaching at Boys College. Despite enjoying her time at both schools, she’s keen to form stronger relationships with students through full-time teaching rather than only relief teaching, which she believes sometimes offers little more than being a “glorified babysitter.”

Extremely determined and driven herself, Ms Playford encourages the same from her students and her own children. “Anything I do if I decide to do it, I do it at 110%,” she said. “Hard work will take you further than intelligence.” 

By student reporters Alex Nickalls and Maya Jayasena