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  • Writer's pictureJake Marr

Nanny vs Tutor

With the surge in demand for nanny services, more and more job postings are including homework help in their requirements. On the other side of the coin, more and more tutor positions are requesting home services such as cooking, cleaning, errands, or hourly rates of a nanny. Between these two scenarios is a common problem: clients are trying to purchase services from the wrong profession for the wrong price.

First, I want to acknowledge a couple of things. Many people cannot afford childcare or educational professionals, even fewer now in these hard times. With nearly every family taking an economic hit, affording both childcare and assistance is unrealistic. Naturally, with the arrival of distance learning, parents sought a silver budget bullet answer to both needs. This has led to nanny positions stretching into academic realms and tutors suddenly being asked to cook, clean, and shuttle kids.

Also, nannies traditionally make less (by a good margin) than tutors. This both because tutors usually have more training, and nannies have greater bulk in their hours with clients.

There are several problems with all of what is mentioned above; let's dive in.


The Expanded Nanny

I will not take anything from nannies. It is hard work being a homemaker in a space that is not yours, kids that are not yours, and boundaries/expectations that are not your own. It is a great gig for young people and can be very rewarding. It is also done in bulk hours, as one could imagine.

But, nannies are not educators. Unless they have received explicit education or training in youth academics, nannies are no more prepared or equipped to help in a child's education than the average parent. Does this mean they are incapable of doing any good? No, not by a long shot. Basic school work is often paired with explicit instructions. The problem arises in methodology. Guiding a student through their daily life versus their academics is drastically different. The training and education in the methodology of teaching is irreplaceable.

Much like the average parent, nannies taking on the additional task may end up causing more harm than good by enforcing or reinforcing bad habits or outdated methods. Plus, they are often not receiving increased compensation for this very important task.


The Role of a Tutor

A tutor is an educational professional, a trades-person, who has a dedicated purpose usually with training to match. Their time is spent helping assess, assist, and support student academics. Their time is generally spent in small quantities with each student.

Because of their specification, tutors are meant to spend their time on academics, not childcare. Expecting them to do so is the same as expecting your plumber to provide childcare while fixing the sink. A bit of a stretch as both tutors and nannies make a living working with kids, but the point is that tutoring or academic coaching is a trade skill not an additional service to childcare. Not only do the tutor and student not make the most of the trade skills by requesting additional services, the client will not be getting the most out of their money academically for the tutor.

Similarly, tutor positions are being posted at nanny rates. In Portland, Oregon, an average (not a live-in) nanny could charge between $10 an hour and $20 an hour. A tutor could charge between $15 an hour and $40 an hour depending on their experience and credentials. With a single client, a nanny can expect up to +40 hours per week, whereas the average tutor may only work up to 5 or 6 hours per week.


Summary & Solution

Clients requesting the wrong services and/or at the wrong rates creates a dilemma for both types of workers. Neither should have to sacrifice their standard fee rates or stretch into services they are not trained for or are below their professional standard. A person can't expect to hire the quality of a player like Babe Ruth at rates affording a player from the local Sunday Softball league.

Many clients have answered this issue by pooling together to split a nanny and tutor for kids from multiple households, a great solution. While childcare is a necessity, the services of a nanny are not that of a tutor, and a person with a specified trade should not need to lower their compensation rate.


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