The second I made it to middle school I was ecstatic to finally be old enough to babysit. Having an older sister that often babysat me made me want to be the one in charge one day, and that day came when I was officially in middle school. I have a younger brother that I was left in charge of for short periods of time when my mom needed to run errands, however I was ready to make some dough while doing something I knew I would enjoy.
My neighborhood consisted of many young families with little children that I knew would be perfect as I was clearly too young to drive anywhere further. I even remember my first babysitting experience for the two girls in the house directly across the street from me and ever since I have loved babysitting. I loved, and still love the time being a babysitter lets me feel like a child, while still holding adult responsibilities.
The two little girls eventually turned to three girls, and have remained in my life quite a bit. Although the family moved from my neighborhood, I eventually was old enough to drive to their house, and even drive their also aging children as needed. Prior to last summer, most visits were simple 3-4 hour nighttime babysitting trips. Then I became their full time nanny, which was one of my biggest learning experiences of all.
There is a major difference between the words babysitter and nanny. A babysitter only comes for a few hours at a time, probably on the weekend and usually inconsistently. A nanny makes consistent, long hours at a time visits and has to be the ‘bad guy’ far more often (or at least based off my experiences). I went from being the cool babysitter for these three girls that watched movies and ordered pizza with them on the weekends, to the nanny that had to make sure they did their chores, practiced reading, worked out (for the older one), and discipline them when they did not listen. While being a nanny was clearly much more difficult, it was also exceedingly more rewarding and gives me confidence that it has helped prepare me to be a teacher.
I recently read an EliteDaily article about how nannying can teach essential life lessons and prepare one for a career. What career can nannying better prepare on for than an elementary school teacher? Author Natalie Newport mentioned
“Learning from your job seems like a given, but I’m not talking just about intellectual advancement; I mean learning more about yourself and how you operate in general”.
I could not agree more with this quote. Nannying, as much as it teaches you about how to handle children and gain their respect while also being affective, teaches you more about yourself than anything. As difficult as nannying often was, it introduced similar difficulties I will face as a teacher, but what I learned was how I respond in those situations, and how to better respond in the future.
“Being a nanny obviously requires you to spend an inordinate amount of time with children, and these little humans think differently than adults do. I promise if you actually take the time to listen to them, you will catch some inspiration in their ways.”