The Nannying College Student

guest column
By Nanny Megan
Over the last couple years of being a nanny, I have found that one of the hardest things to do is balance work and school. Getting a college degree is a very time consuming task, as is being a nanny. I am just finishing my second year of college, and have been through ups and downs when trying to get my degree. Not only have I faced struggles of trying to find the “perfect” major, but I have also faced struggles of trying to fit in a full course load to my 10 hour a day job.

Luckily, both MB and DB have been very supportive, and have given me three days off a week to fit in class time. They also allow me to complete any classwork that I have during down times.

Because I have both Mondays and Wednesdays off, I am able to fit in a full course load into those days. I usually take 12 credit hours a semester, which is enough to keep me busy, but not enough to completely overwhelm me. I try to take an even amount of online classes and on campus classes. However, I have found that I prefer online classes, even though it has its pros and cons. Online classes allow me to do the work when and where it is convenient to me. I can spend some time on my off days doing class work as well as doing them during nap times. However, the one thing I don’t like with online classes is that you don’t really get to meet people. You also don’t really get to form study groups for an online class unless you want to exchange notes online.

I would love to hear how all of you fit school into your job.


STLNanny said...

When I first started my nanny job, I was still in school, enrolled in online classes. I had assignments due 2 days a week with a quiz every Monday. I nanny for three, kids, the oldest two are in full day school. The youngest was 1 when I started. He would nap for 3 hours a day. During his naptime, I did all my school work and studying. It was a great setup as I'd get everything done during the day and have my nights completely free. I graduated in 2009 and literally the month after I graduated, my charge gave up naps. Whew, perfect timing! :)

Ms.Nanny said...

Thanks for the post OP. I am taking classes towards my master's degree in secondary education. I love working as a nanny while accomplishing my schooling. I am only able to do school part time while I work full time but I know that making progress towards my education (at any rate) is so important. I am glad that, like OP, I have incredibly supportive employers. I try to get as much school work done as I can durring nap time but find that my most productive hours are in the morning before work (I live 3 minutes from my job so fortunately I have some morning time). Good luck to all the student nannies out there!

NervousNanny said...

I take a mixture of online classes and night classes. This summer is going to be difficult because I have a field experience, which requires 10-15 hours a week of work. I've talked to MB about it though, and she has been pretty supportive.

SanDiegoNanny said...

I am in school full-time working towards a Masters in Teaching. I work 7am-4pm now and have classes 2 nights a week. I do my homework *sometimes* while the baby is napping, but usually do it on the weekends when I babysit for other families in the evenings.

@NervousNanny: I am in the same place with fieldwork hours! It is very tricky but I was upfront with my employers when I was hired so I just have them tell me when one of them may be able to come home during day so I can go observe at the school.


Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again

Reese said...

I am a nanny who also attends college full-time as well as a parent. My own children are grown now, but since they still live at home, I still have certain responsibilities to them.

What you need is balance. What works for me is I ONLY accept jobs where I can do my homework during nap time. If a family requires me to stay active while the child is napping and complete household chores, I do not take those jobs. For instance today I had a HUGE test and I needed to study big time before class. Well for some lucky reason, my charge fell asleep and took a 2 1/2 hr nap and I got to study the whole time. It would suck if the family required me to do the dishes or the laundry as I really needed every second to study. I think that is one of the great benefits of being a nanny. If you are caring for a small child, you get plenty of downtime and you can use it to do your homework, type papers and/or study for tests. The parents I work for are so cool...when they came home and I remarked how well their son slept today, the first thing they said to me was, "Wow..that must have been a nice break for you. We hope you took full advantage of it and got some homework in.."

Nanny of One said...

Hello Fellow Student Nannies:
I am also a part-time student nanny that already has a first degree and now is going after the second.
The first part of my second degree is all online with 4 classes being in person at the University. The University is located 1.5hrs from where I live/work however, when/If I renew my contract I will make the family aware of the changes that are about to come my way regarding and if they are able to accept the changes.
I work 50hrs a week (Monday-Friday) and am a Nanny Manager- meaning I tend to the child and have household tasks I also live on my own and have responsibilities there, additionally I have a placement one night a week (I only have two nights a week free) so now that brings it down to one night for myself where I am not working. As a result, at times I do have the child do a quite activity to bring them to a play gym so that I can get my work done for school... the parent I work for are understanding of the student-nanny situation and have yet to comment as I have the child interacting with other childer and am a good nanny however, at the end of the day if your not planning on nannying forever, you have to look out for yourself and do what it takes to advance in life, so long as it does not have a negative impact on your charge I do not see an issue with doing homework while at work. Also, in a parent situation, when parents are home with children most times they are not at their every whim and playing with them all day long- thus, parents should not expect nannies to either... :)

SanDiegoNanny said...

@Reese: I totally agree---being able to utilize nap times for homework is definitely a perk of the job. On the flip side, if the child is sick or the baby is fussy all day--we will spend a lot more time/energy caring for them that day. It all balances out.

Reese said...

I agree Nanny of One that nannies should not be expected to interact with the child the whole time she is on duty. Children need to learn at a young age that it is important to entertain themselves from time to time and as long as the nanny is sitting close by, the child is fine. As a nanny, I take full advantage of it when my charge is engrossed in a book or puzzle. I can sneak in a few pages of homework or twenty minutes of studying. Also, if the child takes a good nap, I can use that time as well to do my schoolwork. I most recently left a nanny job where the mother worked from home and once the child was napping, she insisted I needed to rinse last night's dinner dishes and load them in the dishwasher. Then I was to sterilize the bottles and pacifiers and put away a week's worth of laundry. If there was any time left over after this, she wanted me to sanitize the whole playroom and wipe down the stroller in the garage. Since she was a work from home parent, I couldn't just study after I completed my chores. If I finished and the baby was still napping, she wanted me to organize the child's closet and sweep the floor. Needless to say, I was gone from that job quicker than they could say,"Please don't leave!" The family I work for now knows I am a student on the side and they allow me to use nap time to study. They both attended Grad School ten years ago and acknowledge that being a nanny is not a lifelong profession and that I should be going to school as well in order to better myself. They are big advocates of getting educated and even allow me to get off early certain days to go to my tutoring appts. The only chores I do while on the job with them is washing up any dishes used during my stay and picking up all of the child's toys/books before the parents come home. Just basic common sense type stuff.

Nan said...

@ Reese, it sounds like you have a great relationship with your boss, and like myself, you are in a situation where they are very understanding of the situation.

I am still nervous as what will be the result when I have to go on campus once a week I am going to try and pick a night class or something...

A lot of the times, I feel that non-nannies just don't understand just how much work it acutally is.. :)

Nanny of One