Prove your humanity

Bianca Johnston’s typical teaching day is different to most. 

Out on the Nullarbor, on a property that is about a six hour drive from Kalgoorlie, she teaches two kids who can not physically attend a school because of their geographical isolation. 

Bianca is a governess, a live-in nanny whose job is to teach school to kids on rural and remote properties. 

Govie is the slang, and gender-neutral, term for the role. 

Bianca is currently working at Rawlinna station, where she teaches a brother and sister, Billy and Brigid Wood. 

Both kids are enrolled in Kalgoorlie School of the Air, completing daily air lessons over the computer before completing work booklets sent out through the mail.

 After the air lessons, Bianca teaches the kids everything from math and science to writing. 

Bianca says she has always wanted to work with kids. Photo: Olivia Ford.

Originally, Bianca was a health sciences student at Curtin.

 She says she was initially trying to get into speech pathology or anything to do with working with children. 

 She took some time off studying for her degree to figure out what she wanted to do for the future.

 While working at CBH for harvesting, Bianca was told about a job offer for a governess out in the Nullarbor. 

Bianca applied, having no idea what a governess even was, but interested in a change. 

She says she didn’t regret that decision and loves every day teaching kids out on the Nullarbor. 

“It’s just so cool, every day is a little bit different. Something random might happen like sheep just running past the classroom.” 

Bianca says the hardest part of the job is keeping the kids focused on their schoolwork

“There’s a lot of things going past the classroom and they might look out the window and get distracted, and you have to bring that attention back to the classroom,” she says.

“I have found that to be the biggest learning curve for me.”

While there are many positives to being a govie, there are fallbacks to the unique job. 

Income can differ greatly for the position depending on what the employer can afford. 

Because of differing financial situations for people on rural and remote properties, some can’t even afford to hire someone to teach their kids at the lowest pay grade. 

There is also the issue of moving out onto an isolated property without even knowing the people you will be staying with. 

Bianca helping the kids with their air lesson. Photo: Olivia Ford.

Bianca says she had no idea what to expect when she first started.

“I was just coming out here and hoping for the best,” she says. 

Despite this, Bianca says she had no issues adjusting to her life out on Rawlinna, and says she was glad she made the choice. 

“If you had told me this time last year this is where I’d be, I wouldn’t believe you …. but I wouldn’t change it for the world,” she says.

“I think this is definitely where I’m meant to be.”