When he first left high school, Leslie Fiu started studying business. It didn’t take long to realise business was not for him. A part-time job in a before and after-school program revealed a passion for helping children. “I then moved from Melbourne to Sydney to serve a mission for my church where I taught individuals and families about my faith,” Leslie says. “Through these two years I found I also had a passion for teaching. I got home and did a Diploma in Early Childhood and then later did my Bachelor Degree.” Growing up in a family of seven with parents who migrated from Samoa to New Zealand and then to Australia gave Leslie a strong foundation for working in early childhood education. “Funny thing was, throughout my studies I always thought I would end up being a primary school teacher, but here I am, three years into being a kindergarten teacher,” Leslie says. “It’s been an amazing experience so far.”

Describe your journey with Gowrie.

My last placement for my Diploma I was blessed to be placed in Gowrie Victoria Broadmeadows Valley. I then applied for a casual position and was successful. As a casual I learnt many things about being part of a team and the importance of my role as an educator in the lives of the children I engage with on a day-to-day basis. In this setting my voice was heard by the team I worked with and also by management as we had meetings with them about how we can work more effectively with the permanent staff and their teams.

When I finished my studies, I applied for a vacant ECT role and was successful. Since then, I have been one of the kinder teachers running a kinder program at GVBV. In this role I have learnt and am still learning how to lead a team and support them. I have taken part in different professional developments provided by Gowrie Victoria to help me grow professionally in my role.

What is the purpose of your role?

The purpose of my role is to support children to learn and grow in the best possible way, and to provide a safe environment to achieve the best outcome. Part of this includes supporting, mentoring, and coaching educators that are part of my team.

What do you love most about your role?

I love helping children on their learning journey through providing them with a safe, nurturing environment that they feel comfortable in. When I see that my team and I are doing that I feel a sense of happiness knowing that we are doing good in the lives of the children in our class. I love being a part of the growth of the children as well as the educators around me. Knowing that I helped them in a small or big way makes the hard days worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly believe that every day is a good day, even the so-called ‘bad days’. It’s our outlook on life that determines our view on each day.