PART 1: Teachers now Nannies

Two years after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in education, Amanda Davis is thrilled finally to be working full time with children, earning a steady salary and paid time off.

But not as a teacher. As a nanny.

“It’s just there’s such a need for nannies in the city, and you really are paid well,” said Davis, 24. “It’s a good in-between for now.”

As job prospects across the state and nation remain bleak for new and laid-off teachers, many are finding welcome work as nannies and baby sitters.

Nannies increasingly say they have found that parents jump at the chance to leave their children with someone with a teaching background, offering generous incentives such as signing bonuses and extra time off. The popularity has inspired the creation of one local website — SitterWorks.com, which plans to launch soon — specifically for unemployed teachers and nurses hoping to find work in child care.

“Parents want more from the nannies they’re bringing into their house,” said Kimberly Walker, who co-founded the website with Elizabeth Patano Jaworek, another mother. “Despite how tough economic times are right now, parents are still willing to pay for someone who is very qualified.”
Someone like Olivia Romine.

After spending more than 30 years as a special-education teacher around the Chicago area, Romine was laid off in June from a job at the Easter Seals’ Therapeutic School in Chicago.

After unsuccessfully applying for teaching positions at school districts in the fall, Romine, 55, recently posted a profile on child-care job sites, including Care.com and SitterCity.com. She holds a master’s degree in administrative education.
“I’m not going to get a public school job because I’m too old and I’m too expensive,” she said. “I went into teaching to help kids, so either way — if I’m a nanny, tutor, baby sitter, au pair, whatever — I still feel like I’m helping the kids.”