People of the Y – Federico Rodriguez Mendoza

For some people, a job represents a step in their career path, a way to pay the bills, or simply something to fill in time. The lucky ones might find work doing something they enjoy. The really lucky ones (and those willing to be patient and resilient and dream big) may one day find themselves in a job that perfectly aligns their skills, interests and personality.

Early Learning Teacher Federico Rodriguez, known by the staff and tamariki as Fede, belongs to the latter group. It has been a long journey to his current role but one that he reflects on with gratefulness.

After working as a chef for 11 years in both New Zealand and his home country, Uruguay, Fede began looking into the education sector. During a short stint as a preschool cook he felt called to pursue a previous dream to work in early childhood.

Fast forward three and a half years and Fede holds a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education and works full time in a job he loves. He calls Bishopdale home and lives with his partner and two young children, both of whom attend the Bishopdale Early Learning Centre. It is a huge privilege for him to spend extra time with them during the day when work would usually mean they were apart. He has gotten to witness many special milestones and treasured moments in the classroom.



If you had to ask someone what personality attributes are most needed for working with children the chances are high they would list things like patience, kindness, and generosity. Fede has all of these things in spades along with another helpful trait – curiosity. He uses the words ‘together’ and ‘with’ a lot as he describes his job, placing himself alongside the tamariki he works with on their learning journey.

“They always ask why, they always want to know how things work. The way they see the world amazes me. The children can teach you so much, if you just listen.”

It is clear to anyone who meets him that Fede has a huge heart for his role and for the tamariki he works with. Work in the early learning space isn’t easy by any means. It requires lots of patience and quick thinking, the ability to keep children safe, encourage them to explore, inspire them to learn. For Fede, the job is incredibly rewarding and he treasures his place amongst the supportive team.

“Now I can finally feel that I am satisfied. So many things are aligned. I have two wonderful children and a full time job in the profession I love with a group of people I really love.”

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