Governess

Governess working for a private family

Are you an organized, methodical person with a keen sense of detail? Then, you could be a private residence housekeeper. As a housekeeper, you embody the authoritative figure within a household when it comes to education, values, respect for others, and proper manners.

Meeting the requirements of high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) and ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWI), affluent families, and politicians seeking a housekeeper is a natural choice. The role is crucial in the educational development of children, teaching them proper manners, and contributing to their overall education.

In summary

  • Primary missions:
    • Educational and childcare support
    • Intellectual and social development
    • Language and etiquette education
  • Average salary: $40,000 – $100,000  per year (junior to experienced)
  • Type of job: Private Childcare 
  • Similar jobs:

Governess job description

The common reason a family needs a governess is that their child or children are learning a specific language, and they prefer them to be taught by a native speaker with the necessary skills to organize educational activities. Another reason is that they would like their children to learn to play an instrument, engage in a sport, or pursue an artistic skill.

Certain factors need to be considered before being classified as a qualified governess working for private clients. The role of a governess replaces and combines the roles of a private tutor, sports, or music educator. They are often hired full-time throughout the year to ensure a conduct line indicated by the parents.

Roles and responsibilities of a private governess

Duties and responsibilities vary based on the family, the needs of the children, and the school program they must follow. The most common tasks a governess must perform include:

  • Educating the children
  • Homework assistance
  • Supporting a specific school program (British, French, American, etc.)
  • Improving language or skill proficiency (instrument, sport, or art)
  • Teaching proper manners and etiquette principles
  • Developing social skills
  • Stimulating the development of the children in their care
  • Organizing educational activities
  • Motivating and encouraging the children
  • Liaising and reporting to parents
  • Recording progress, routines, and interests of the children
  • Supervising the children in their care

The governess thus plays a central role in the education of children, going beyond mere supervision and encompassing a diverse range of responsibilities that contribute to instilling good manners to integrate the elite.

Essential qualities of a governess

The ideal governess must be a committed educator, command respect, and actively participate in the educational development of children by teaching them various foreign languages, sports, and cultural activities. In addition to these educational qualities, the governess must demonstrate flexibility and adaptability, taking on additional roles that the family may wish to assign.

Balance between tradition and modernity

Governesses must ensure that each child’s time is invested perfectly in stimulating and educational activities. This includes planning foreign language lessons and creating an environment conducive to athletic development.

Skills required to become a governess

A governess is typically multilingual and can fluently speak two or more languages. Some may know how to play an instrument or excel in sports. Important skills to possess include patience, firm but friendly demeanor, good communication and teaching skills, professionalism, and creativity.

  • Authority and discipline
  • Patience and understanding
  • Creativity, the ability to design fun and educational activities
  • Ability to educate, encourage, and support
  • Good communication skills, willingness to cooperate with parents
  • Understanding and respect for family protocols, habits, and lifestyle

Education and experience to become a governess

They usually come from a teaching background, have higher education in childcare, and hold several certificates and diplomas in childcare and education. Moreover, they should have at least 3 to 5 years of working experience for a private family.

Contracts and compensation for a governess

Hiring a dedicated governess for VIP families typically negotiates between $2500 to $6000 per month, but this can vary based on experience, profile, and the demands of more demanding and prestigious environments, which may influence compensation. Additional benefits such as housing, travel expenses, or other perks may be provided based on the families’ requests or if the governess occasionally needs to accompany the children during travels.

Working conditions for the governess profession

Flexibility in working hours is a commonly present characteristic of the governess profession. Working hours vary based on the specific needs of the employing family, with intensive periods or extended time slots. The position may be offered on-site with private accommodation within the family’s property, or accommodation outside can also be provided by the employer for independence but easy availability.

Where to practice the governess profession?

Due to its versatile nature, the governess profession thrives in various settings, providing a diversity of professional experiences but heavily focused on HNWI (High Net Worth Individuals) families. Governesses are frequently sought after in affluent families, offering exclusive educational and domestic presence. They may work in private residences, estates, or even aboard yachts. The luxury hospitality sector also employs governesses in prestigious hotels and high-end tourist resorts to offer clients increasingly personalized and exclusive services.

Similar jobs

Home tutor:
A home tutor is recruited for their teaching and academic support role for all children in the family. They may be required to accompany the family on trips to ensure the continuity of quality education.

Nanny:
A nanny is a profession that shares responsibilities with that of a governess in child care, managing their safety, organizing activity schedules, assisting with homework, and overseeing household affairs for the children.

Who to turn to for successful recruitment?

Morgan & Mallet International places and recruits governesses for temporary, seasonal, or permanent contracts. Our recruitment consultants seek governesses whose main criteria include:

  • A clean criminal record in their employment country and country of origin
  • Presentation of all certificates and qualifications from training centers and/or schools attended
  • Successful completion of two interview stages
  • Provision of at least three positive references from previous employers
  • Complete professional portfolios containing: CV, cover letter, proof of identity (copy or scan), proof of address, proof of the right to work in the employment country (if applicable), driver’s license, and salary slips from previous professional internships.
  • Candidates should be aware that additional documents may also be required.

Frequently Asked Questions about governess job description

Meaning of Governess

The term “governess” encompasses a qualified and dedicated individual responsible for the education and well-being of children in a family setting. She embodies an educational and often organizational figure, contributing to the harmonious development of the children under her care.

What is a modern governess

In the modern context, a governess retains her educational role while adapting to societal changes. She may incorporate educational technologies, specialize in specific areas, and often work in diverse environments, from private residences to educational institutions.

Governess vs. Nanny: what are the differences?

The difference between a nanny and a governess is that a nanny is responsible for the well-being of the child or children in her care, ranging from newborns to 11 years old, while a governess cares for school-age children and is responsible for their academic and social education.

Governess vs. Au Pair: what are the differences?

A governess differs from an au pair in terms of experience and qualification. While a governess is often a qualified professional with pedagogical training, an au pair is typically a young person staying temporarily with a host family to learn a language and experience a cultural exchange.

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