Etiquette: Always ask - Governess Social Manners

Also always ask if they can use the phone or the computer (even if you have been told they are free to use it at any time). 

Always ask if there is anything you can do to help - i.e. never assume that the employer wanted her undies folded or her bed made (basic respect of privacy). 

If your employer has a house in town or you become friends with someone in town always ask to stay.  Even if they say you can stay anytime. 
Five years ago a teacher became friends with a governess, invited her to stay once and after that the governess just rocked up and stayed all the time, sometimes bringing other governess or male friends with her.  If employer has a house in town, some might not want all the governesses rocking up expecting to stay.  Talk to your boss about expectations.  One of my employers has a town house with heaps of beds and was more than happy for us to stay as long as I let her know.  I always said who was possibly staying and cleaned up after we left.

Etiquette: No fishing for gossip or trying to get other opinions

If people are fishing for gossip or trying to get your opinion on gossip about your employer or employees, BE VAGUE.  It is none of their business.   
If two parents or governesses are talking about someone else governess or a parent be aware that it is not right or fair.  Their personal and professional relationship is their business.  If you don’t have a good relationship of trust with the person you are talking to, then don’t talk.  Do not talk about other people’s governesses unless you absolutely trust the person not to say anything to anyone else. 

Etiquette: Do not try to poach someone else's governess for the next year before the start of term 4

It is just plan rude before that.  

This law was explained to me by a parent 12 years ago after she had watched me at our Term 2 minischool be unofficially interviewed without my consent.  As a governess you may be interested in that job but it feels disloyal to not be even halfway through your year before everyone knows exactly what you will be doing next year.

Etiquette: Everyone needs space no matter how well you get along

To keep a good relationship with governess and the family you both need space even if you or they say they don't need it, to last the year or more you do and leave with good feelings.  In a normal 9 to 5 jobs you would not be spending all of your time with your employers, at 5 O’clock you would go home and not see them until the next day.

Etiquette: Be up front about your Governess Job Description

It is your right to include anything you want in your job position, this may inlcude jobs outside the schoolroom, but be honest and pay accordingly, if you want them to garden on a regular basis then put it in your Job Description or Contract.  Some examples are available on the website on the Parent Page.

Story - Kelly Porka

This little adventure / story that happened in 2007....I still laugh when I remember the moment 
What an adventure my last 5 days have been.  My bosses went away for Mr Year 6's sleepover at his next years boarding school and all the excitement was here.   

The story start last Thursday when they left and life was normal... well not quite normal as it was raining which these days is rare.  We had 70 points.  The next morning in my PJ's (cause no one's around) I wander over to the pump shed 100m away to turn on the pump.  There on the ground are these fresh pig tracks, quite large and with a big stride (used those bush skills to determine all this information.  pretended to look like a tracker)    Later that day as I feed up all the animals I notice that the cheeky Porka had worked up to the back door, around between all the sheds and dogs. 

My story now skips to Friday night 8pm (don't cheer because I have speed the story up it wouldn't be a Lee-Anne story if it wasn't long winded)  I walk out onto the verandah to hear DOG (yeah my big brave kelpie protector) GROWLING like I have never heard before.  (growling from the inside of his kennel that is)

NOW at this point sheer terror (comes with being on the property alone)  made me flick on all the outside lights then race to my bedroom window and look out to see what DOG was barking at.  There disappearing over the levee bank not 20m away is 2 Xmas hams and a side of bacon which would have fed a 3rd world family for a lifetime.  I then spent 10min trying to find a big torch that didn't have a flat battery and a weapon in case KELLIE PORKA attacked.   

Once i was armed with the (wait for it) MOP and a large torch with a new batteries.  OF COURSE by this time the pig was long gone.  But i was still armed and dangerous.  Not sure what I was gonna do with the mop, looking back I could have walked up and asked the pig to start cleaning.  Or may be use the mope as a pole vault to get up a tree

Now I can hear the questions (stop groaning) about where the name Kellie Porka come from.  Kellie Clarkson happened to be on the Footy show last month and having not seen her since her American Idol days i noticed she had packed on 10 kg.  About the same amount as the pig who comes in every night eating all the mulberries every night.  

The only other thing of interest over the last few nights is we had a few minutes of hail stones the size of marbles.  never run so quick to get the car in the shed.  Doesn't really seem newsworthy after the Kelly Porka story


Etiquette - Confidentiality and Trust: Trust is built up over years but confidentiality is immediate when asked.

Your bosses and governesses personal business is just that PERSONAL.  Over the course of the position you will find information out about each others lives, often not because you are told but because you have observed it happening.  Employers and employees need to judge what is general information and what needs to be kept private. 
Also be aware other governesses or parents may talk but this should remain confidential and you should be able to trust them not to say anything or discuss the conversation with anyone else. 

Etiquette: Common Courtesy

Employee: Often governesses are being partly cooked and cleaned up after.  If employers provide meals and you use the facilities within their house then please help keep it tidy.  If you see a job, then please do it.  (I.E. wiping table or benches, putting away food, dishes)  In any living environment everyone need to do their part. 
Employers: If the governess has their own cottage or room, give them privacy.  Make sure the kids are not over their place on the weekend or after school unless invited.  Don’t expect the governess to be constantly doing your jobs as parents. 


Welcome to my blog,

A couple of years ago I started writing down suggestions and tips I could give to parents and governess to make governessing on an outback property easier.  This evolved into a book I call the UNWRITTEN Laws & Etiquette of the Governess World - an unfinished book which I will continue to add to as I write my blog.

I intend to share each individual suggestion from the book as well as sharing my poetry, stories and anecdotes from governessing.