This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.
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My name is Tatiane Oliveira, and I’m an early childhood educator. I have worked as a nanny in the Boston area since 2003. I have been fortunate and blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years!
Although I knew I have always wanted to work with children, I confess I never imagined being a nanny. I, like many others, had no idea of what that meant, how it was a profession one could choose to pursue. That mindset changed as soon as I became one. I learned that nannies, are private educators hidden in plain sight. I loved the long-term connection and the ability to fully dedicate to one, two, or three children. Still, I thought I was crazy and the only one who actually loved nannying more than teaching.
It all changed in 2010, when I attended my first Nannypalooza! Yup, you read it right!!! Nannypalooza is just one of two yearly conferences dedicated to nannies! And that was the year I met many other professional and dedicated nannies, who, like me, are passionate about caring for children and committed to providing the best quality care. Also, like me, several of them had no idea about the resources and community support in their area. Even now, seven years later, I still can’t help thinking there are possibly hundreds of amazing nannies out there who still haven’t found this amazing community!
When I became a nanny, I took the greatest pride and passion in the profession. My children are the ultimate testimony to the work I have done. Watching them grow to become, not only extremely smart and thriving college students, but also honest, kind, respectful, mindful, loyal, and socially conscious citizens of the world who have a love for learning and reading, and who help others and cherish cultures that are different from theirs, is heart-warming and absolute unique to our profession.
Last year, I was honored to be amongst the finalist for the International Nanny Association’s Nanny of The Year award, and I consequently received a great deal of attention for the advocacy work I do. I am a full-time nanny during the day but my evening and weekends are filled with a mission to spread the word about the value of domestic workers. I am an advocate and leader with Matahari Women’s Workers Center, which helped pass the 2015 Domestic Workers Bill of Rights that benefitted thousands of nannies and other care workers in Massachusetts. We work in the community to stop exploitation and educate nannies about their rights.
As an educator, I have also offered professional development classes for nannies a few times a year, and I am currently launching an online monthly professional development program for nannies who want to continue their education in subject matters that are relevant to their specific needs. I also serve on the International Nanny Association Board of Directors, and I have been excited about becoming the Education Committee chair.
I absolutely love learning and currently hold a Master’s of Education in ESL and a Master’s of Management in Leadership and Coaching. More recently, I graduated from a Leadership Development Fellowship program from The Women’s Pipeline for Change which has helped me greatly with navigating our political climate.
When I heard the news about winning The Pat Xavier Advocacy award, I cried. I cried in disbelief; I cried in joy; I cried because it meant so much, not just to me, but for all the nannies across the globe. I know it was about the advocacy work I have been doing, but for me it was about a nanny being seen as an educator for the first time ever! And when I shared the news, it was indeed a community celebration.
Sadly, I believe many people still don’t know — or value — the amazing work we do: the complexity of tasks and the responsibilities we have raising someone else’s children without the support one would get in a formal school setting. It has become part of my mission to educate the community and bring awareness, understanding, and value to the childcare industry as a whole.
Our work is universal, and it should be respected, valued, and cherished in every country in all settings: either as an educator in a daycare center, public school, or a caregiver in a private residence. I want the world to know how passionate we are about the work we do but also how invaluable we, and our work is, to society. If making an argument for educating parents’ most prized possession isn’t enough, we can still make the argument that caregivers are a driving economic force. We make it possible for parents to go to work and pursue their careers.
Nannies tend to be invisible, and yet, so invaluable.