Ex-pat feels right at home


At Nayland College, we have been very fortunate to have a great group of new teachers join our whanau this year. Over the coming months, we will be running profiles of our new staff so you can get to know them better. This week, we say hello to Canadian born english teacher Nicole Hecht.

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

Canada! I was born on the French-speaking East Coast, in Quebec, but I grew up out West, in Alberta and British Columbia.

Where else have you lived before coming to Nelson?

Canada, China, Germany, Switzerland, USA, and Collingwood.

What other jobs have you had before becoming a teacher?

I worked on a tree nursery, in a Tim Hortons (Canadian coffee shop), in a movie cinema in my hometown, as a “language monitor” in a French highschool, as an after school monitor, at a catering company, with a mining company – to cut core samples, in a cafe, in an equestrian centre – as a cleaner, as a baker and as a babysitter.

What did you do before coming to New Zealand?

I was teaching in USA, and before that Canada, and before that China.

What drew you to New Zealand?

The integration of cultures (Maori/European) because in Canada they are more separated than here. Also the nature – you can hike and bike and be outdoors all year long!

Why did you decide to be a teacher – and what drew towards becoming an English teacher specifically?

The first time I worked in a high school, I was as an English Language Monitor. I loved working with students and getting them excited about english, so I changed what I was studying so I could be a teacher. 

What do you like about teaching, and teaching at Nayland specifically?

I love how active and involved everyone at the school seems to be. Students and teachers know their priorities and have them in the right order. Community is something that I value highly, and at Nayland, it feels like that is important as well. I also like that everyone is friendly and welcoming. Sometimes I can feel like I don’t belong, because I have travelled so much, but I didn’t feel like that coming here. 

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Sewing, hiking, mountain biking, reading, baking.

One thing that drew Nicole to New Zealand was our outdoor lifestyle. — Supplied

What is one book everyone should read?

Watership Down is probably my favourite book. The Alchemist is maybe one that everyone should read. 

What were you like as a student at school?

I was really really quiet and shy. I was good at english, chemistry, and the social sciences, and not much else. I started to like sports only after I left school. 

When I retire, I want to..

Do pretty much do the same stuff I do now, but a bit more travelling. 

How are you coping with the lockdown?

It has been good. I have been catching up on a lot of stuff, mainly my quilt!

Give me one question to ask the next teacher we profile…

What will be the first place you’ll go to eat in Nelson after lockdown?

By Duncan McKinlay