25 Feb Tireless traveller joins English department

New to Nayland English teacher Lauren Prestidge is no stranger to moving around. Originally from Taupō, Miss Prestidge has spent the last four years teaching at Westlake Girls High School in Takapuna on Auckland’s North Shore.

It is Miss Prestidge’s passion for travel though, that has seen her trotting around a fair swag of the globe. Over the last two years she has visited Mexico, Cuba, Scotland and the Isle of Skye. She even went on a three week trip to India with her last school, where the students did community work, went trekking, and sampled some of the usual touristy things.  

And her thirst for travel isn’t quenched yet.  She hopes to visit either Africa or South America at the end of this year.

Miss Prestidge is enjoying the Nelson lifestyle which, she says, is considerably more relaxed than that of our biggest city. “In Auckland when you’re going anywhere, you have to plan an hour’s travel. Everything becomes so much more of a mission, whereas here it’s nice and easy. Weatherwise,” she continues, “I mean we’ve had a bit of rain but when it’s a sunny day, my goodness, it’s a sunny day, isn’t it?”

However, the lifestyle wasn’t the only drawcard in pulling Miss Prestidge to the Nelson region. After attending an all-girls’ school herself and then teaching at one, she felt the time was right to explore a co-ed environment.

“When the girls would see boys, they would be like ‘oh my god! There’s a boy in the school!’ whereas here, they don’t have to worry about those relationships (…) so much because they’re used to having each other around.  So their social skills with each other are much more developed which is really nice.”

“It’s less of a distraction than I thought it would be,” she adds. “And of course girls are funny too but the boys do bring a sense of humour! (…) Sometimes it’s quite hard keeping a straight face!”

Miss Prestidge likes the variety and flexibility in teaching English and encourages her students to take risks with their thinking. “English doesn’t have one right answer (…) so it’s got room for creativity and individual opinion,” she explains.

When Miss Prestidge isn’t at school she enjoys baking, skiing and tramping. “I love doing big, extravagant cakes,” she says. “Sometimes a good chocolate cake is just the way to go!”

By Sera King

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