Nerida Morrish: Teacher and Horse Competitor

Nerida grew up in Melbourne, but has made the small Mallee town of Ouyen her home. She didn’t enjoy her schooling in the city, but found a path towards loving to learn.

She is now the Head of Arts and a year-level coordinator at Ouyen P-12 College. Outside of her work, Nerida competes with horses to a national level.

Nerida at School:

"When I was at school, I was a brat. I had no intention of ever having anything to do with school when I had finished my own schooling. I took a year off after year 12, going overseas and working at my family’s business doing data entry, loading trucks, and completing warehouse work.

I got a bug for learning (albeit a bit later than most) and I decided to go back to school to redo Year 12. I worked my butt off and obtained a high score to get into Uni.

I wanted to be a primary teacher, and I completed my teaching degree at ACU.

Later, while working full time, I completed my Masters of Education via distance education with the University of New England."

Being a Teacher:

"I am passionate about learning and about sharing that love with my students. I believe that when you love and enjoy something, learning the content comes easily.

I am driven by the looks on my student’s faces when they have that moment of understanding; an epiphany. I set very high standards for all of my students and, to the most part, they all try to meet them."

Moving to Ouyen:

"I have made some tough choices. First, to leave Melbourne and move to a new state, then to move again, but 1000km west to live in the desert. The move to Ouyen proved to be a real contrast to living on one of Australia’s best beaches, at Mollymook.

This move back to Victoria was in 2004 and I took up a position as Art teacher in Ouyen. I have been there ever since and have continued to study. I have completed several Cert IV courses, subjects with Open University, and I am just about to complete my Advanced Diploma of Advertising and Graphic Design.

I have also managed to work full time, to complete further studies, and to compete with horses to a national level."

Why the country?

"I never expected to be where I am today. I was always a city girl, but now I can’t take more than a couple of days in the city.

Living in a small town is all about community. Everyone knows how to help each other and neighbours regularly talk over the fence. Footy and netball games can bring together hundreds of people, which is to the amazement of city people. We come together for all events and for all occasions. We support each other through anything.

Nothing beats a cold winter’s night looking up with a 180o view of the sky and to see every single star at night.

Yes, rural living has its disadvantages, but when wonders greet you at every sunset and sunrise, and when you can visit the city, why not live in the country?"


If you have any questions for Nerida, send them to xavier@cep.org.au and we’ll pass them on!