Growing up in a family of fruit tree growers Michael Sixtus’ career path was a pre-set track. From an early age onwards, the EIT graduate was driving tractors, spraying trees and working in the family nursery.
Later he worked as a qualified baker and held various role in a supermarket too. He also went on to study horticulture to fit into the family business but he felt that he was stuck in careers that weren’t for him.
“When my twin brother and I were young we always liked to look after younger children. It was not until I had my own kids and shared the amazing milestones with my wife that I thought that working with children was more rewarding than anything else.”
With the support of his family, the 31-year-old decided to make a fresh start and enrolled into the Bachelor of Teaching – Early Childhood Education at EIT.
Being the only male student in his class was not a surprise for him as just two percent of New Zealand’s early childhood teachers are men.
For Michael the key to success was finding his mentor, Michelle Tuhura, head teacher at Frimley Park Kindergarten, part of the Heretaunga Free Kindergarten Association. Michelle says she advocates for males in education and had a male mentor herself, “Children deserve to have a male role model. After all teachers should reflect the diversity of society.”
Michelle describes Michael as a natural leader who teaches from the heart, is not afraid to question and is – last but not least – fun to work with.