In April of 2009, (it’s been 4 years, my how time flies) BWE blogger Khadija Nassif encouraged black women to leave the helping professions in this post. The content is now contained in her book, but the comments are still there. sidenote: You should buy the book and tell all your friends!

I remember having several long conversations with an old friend who agreed. She was a teacher and there was no end to the tales of unruly or uncaring children, unsupportive administrations and parents who demanded at the eleventh hour that she come up with some sort of way for their child to raise their grade, AFTER ignoring all the interim reports about their progress.
She has now retired from the field and looking for new opportunities. I asked her if she knew that there was still such a thing as a “governess”.

Yes, dear readers, the governess is not a mythical creature found only in old musicals or Charlotte Bronte novels. These days she’s more likely to wear khaki capris than a gray woolen dress, and will not find it necessary to fashion clothing for the children out of old drapes.

She will probably have a degree in education and experience in that field, and may need to be multilingual. (This will depend, of course. My research has shown that several Russian families and perhaps others overseas specifically want an English-speaking governess for their child. English is still seen as the most important language for business in many parts of the world. I remember Khadija’s admonition to us all to remember that!)

In several countries, the popularity of the governess is on the rise. American families looking to hire a governess may include those who travel frequently and want to take their children along to experience the world, or those who can afford private school but want the ultimate in customized education for their child.

This includes manners and etiquette. Since she is a kind of mentor to the children, she may also be expected to be a healthy eater who engages in regular exercise. A pleasing personal presentation matters. In other words, working on being “flawless” helps. You’re not going to get the choicest governess positions looking like a schlump.

In this article in the UK publication The Telegraph, the rising popularity of nannies is attributed to parents who want to give their children an edge over the competition.

Tutorial agencies said the return of governesses was being fuelled by increasing competition to pass entrance tests for popular schools, and by parents determined to give their children an advantage in GCSE and A-level exams

The article goes on to state the many perks: international travel, room and board, enough free time to pursue personal goals. The salary can be double what teachers make.

This seems like a fantastic possibility if you are a teacher who loves to teach, but wants a better work environment. It could be an opportunity to travel, and meet new and interesting people. I invite you to ponder if a position as a governess might suit you for awhile. There are even schools you can attend if you want to augment your skills for this niche market.

Further reading:
http://www.nannygovernesshiring.com/
http://www.bonne-int.com/living-abroad/an-interview-with-one-of-our-governesses-a-few-months-after-she-started-working-in-a-family-in-moscow/

What do you say, teachers. Would you consider it?