Father of two Chris Johnson is passionate about teaching but the former corrections officer is the first to admit that it has taken him a while to fulfil his dream.
“At secondary school in Waverley my father was a teacher, so I naturally gravitated towards this as a career choice” remembers Chris “but then I met Sarah and decided that whatever my future was going to be, it would be in Hawke’s Bay with her.”
Chris had been working for the Department of Corrections for nearly 10 years when Sarah told him of her opportunity to join St John fulltime. They had two children and Chris realised that if he ever wanted to fulfil his dream then he would have to take a massive leap of faith. “I simply told Sarah that I was ready to do this and from that point on everything began to fall into place.
“I chose to do my Bachelor of Teaching in Early Childhood Education because this is such a crucial time in a person’s development and because E.I.T offered a field based programme! The greatest growth in the brains occurs before children are five years of age. It is when they learn to walk, feed themselves, talk and read. These are the very basic foundations that will carry them through the rest of their lives. It is a process that is both humbling and inspirational to be a part of.”
Studying full-time was a challenge as Chris and Sarah tried to juggle study, work and children. “It certainly helps if you have a supportive network of people around you” advises Chris “the support from our extended family was particularly vital also.”
“One of the challenges with taking on study at this stage in my life was making sure that the balance between work, study and family was kept intact.
“When you have passion it is easier to fight the fear that comes with any big decision,” explains Chris.” “but more importantly, holding on to a life long dream and realising my potential is what drives me and makes my leap of faith so meaningful and worthwhile.”