When they’re not in class, writing research papers or chowing down on burritos at Salsa Rico, a rising number of UT students are changing diapers and tucking tikes into bed to earn some extra cash.
Nannies are a growing population at UT, many accrediting the flexibility of college lifestyle to the ability to take on such a demanding job.
Fortunately for them, South Tampa’s demographics of younger and livelier families make it one of the best markets around for being a nanny.
Although the tax logistics of jobs such as being a nanny leave a lot of gray areas, the IRS sees a black and white truth: these jobs should provide taxable income.
Still, many nannies consider their ‘tax-free pay’ as just one of many perks.
Junior Marta Garcia-Gutierrez Baez, has been a babysitter since she was 15 years old and has nannied for the entire three years she has attended UT.
And while being a nanny during school requires certain skills, the job has proven to be not only fun but financially rewarding, as well.
‘I usually charge $10 per hour for one or two kids, and usually anywhere from $13 to $15 for three kids,’ said Garcia-Gutierrez Baez.
In this economy, single-income families are finding it harder to cover all their expenses, and many parents are heading back to work.
Nanny, Jess English, has seen the hard times affect families around the area, making demand for nannies that much higher.
‘The economy has made it hard for most families,’ said English.
‘I see a lot of family members going back to work. The families need more help around the house when they’re gone.’
On top of being a nanny, herself, English has started her own babysitter placement business.
The economic downturn and many parents’ active lifestyles have combined for a flourishing business.
The families she was originally working for saw a need for this service.
‘They even helped me expand,’ she said.
English now has 45 families that go through her for sitters.
English’s primary goal is matching up nannies with families in need during these hard times.
The money is important, especially to young college students, but the job is a rewarding experience in itself, nannies say.
‘It’s amazing to watch them grow up,’ Garcia-Gutierrez Baez said.
‘To watch them become confident and loving; and then when they start to trust you and smile and call your name when you show up is great.’
Garcia-Gutierrez Baez says she’s constantly aware of the impact she has on her charges’ lives, so she strives to learn remember the lessons of her own babysitters, who she still thinks about.
‘The relationship just stopped after I grew up,’ she said. ‘I wish so badly that they knew where I was and what I was doing today.’
While it is a time-consuming job, being a nanny in college gives students the means to do something extremely special.
Nannies say the experience provides an opportunity to learn about themselves and help another grow up and mature.
For some, like Garcia-Gutierrez Baez, caring for children is part of not just their present but their future too.
‘Being a nanny has taught me many things,’ she said. ‘I now know I want to dedicate my life to children.’