On Monday, we shared with you Mallory Lynch’s inspiration behind her passion of continued nanny education. Today, she shares with us additional ideas on how you can expand your nanny know how.
Mark your calendars right now! Saturday, April 18, 2015. This is one of the best opportunities for professional development out there. National Nanny Training Day offers similar benefits as national conferences but closer to home and for less money. This past April 36 events were held nationwide. Hopefully that number will be even higher this next year and there will be a National Nanny Training Day event in your area!
♫Here I go again on my oh-oh own♫… Sing it Whitesnake. Trainings aren’t easy to come by in every area and sometimes we just have to take matters into our own hands. Independent Studies are similar to online trainings in a sense there is usually an online component and they are done at home, however, they are also typically accompanied by reading materials, workbooks, dvds and assessments. The best part about independent studies is that you complete everything at your own pace. Independent studies tend to be the most costly but also look really great on a nanny’s resume. Some independent study ideas include The Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Signs, Newborn Care Specialist, and learning a second language with software such as Rosetta Stone.
Don’t be afraid to work for free! I read a lot of self-help books, so unfortunately I can’t tell you exactly where this gem came from but “Don’t Be Afraid to Work for Free” has really stuck with me and reminds me that you never know what lessons and experiences life will bring your way if you are open and allow it to happen. The unfortunate truth is that dream jobs are being handed out about as often as ice water in hell. It can take a lot of time, effort, and creativity to foster a positive career path to the job you’ve always wanted. Consider job shadowing a newborn care specialist or a doula. Inquire about volunteer opportunities at the local children’s hospital, elementary school, church, or Big Brothers Big Sisters chapter. Just because you’re not being paid doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable experience!
Travel is considered a part of professional development? I sure think so! Seeing the world and experiencing first hand about other cultures and seeing monuments and national treasures in person that many people only see in books and movies is incredibly valuable. Perhaps your nanny family is planning a trip to Fiji and have never been there. How awesome that you have and can offer up some hidden treasures and less traveled hot spots. Or imagine your nanny kid comes home one day asking about the Lincoln Memorial because he needs to write a paper on it for school. What a great opportunity to share your experience and stories from when you visited our nations capital and be an additional resource to his work. Personal stories, photographs, and experiences help bring things to life and I for one consider that an amazing benefit and a standout on a nanny’s list of professional qualities.
Wait? My employer can pay for that?!
Yes! There are families out there that pay for some or even all of their nannies professional development expenses. Many however are not just offering that perk up, so you’ll probably have to ask! Not sure how to initiate the conversation? Check out the Talking to Your Employers About Paying for Professional Development episode of the Practically Perfect Podcast. Everything you could ever need to know about asking your employer for professional development dollars and professional development days is in there. Many times as nannies we are afraid to ask for things, but if we take the risk and approach our families in a positive, respectful, and knowledgeable manner, we just might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. Be sure to check with a tax professional as well to find out which professional development dollars qualify as tax deductible. After all, any financial assistance is a bonus!
Log It Before You Lose It
When working towards your professional development goals it’s important to keep a record of accomplishments. Consider creating a spread sheet archiving classes, webinars, certifications, memberships, and conferences. I personally use the following headings: Course Title, Course Description, Organization (Who is providing the webinar), Presenter, Presenter Contact Info, Date Taken, Hours Logged, Key Points, Implementation Steps (What I need to do to carry out what I learned), What I have Implemented/Plan to Implement (Things from the training I have followed through with), Resources, Where to Find Electronic Resources/Notes/Handouts, and Where to Find Printed Resources/Notes/Handouts. It seems like a lot, but it’s worth it! And once you have your professional development log made, it is really easy to just plug information in!
In addition, consider setting aside some file folders for organizing any resources collected, notes you’ve taken, and certificates showing participation and/or completion. Keep a list of relevant books and articles you have read. You never know when one of them will come in handy on your resume, in a cover letter, or during an interview.
Maybe you are brand new to the world of professional development, maybe you have taken some classes and are looking to expand your reach, or maybe you are a junkie like me (if you are please contact me, I’d love to be friends) and looking for some fresh ideas on where to find your next fix. No matter where you are in your professional development journey, I hope you can make use of these tips.
Happy professional developing!