A little background before I begin (yup - another "life and times of Vanessa" segment)!
I always knew I wanted to be a teacher. Sure, I often alternated this with periods of wanting to be a vet, an astronaut, a ballerina or a time traveller, but I always came back to teaching. What I also thought I knew all along was that I wanted to teach young children. As in 5 - 7 year olds. In fact, I was so sure about this that when it came time for my very first "pre-practicum" at the Faculty of Education within the University of Lethbridge, I begged my prof to put me in a Grade 1 classroom. Grade 5? No way. Grade 6? Even worse.
Funny how life has a way of changing.
For those who don't know, I DID do that very first practicum in Grade 1. And promptly changed my mind about wanting to teach young children. Don't get me wrong - I adore little kids. I love the neck rolls that little babies have, the cute lisp that most 5 year olds haven't lost yet and their adorable innocent outlook on life. Half a closet at home is filled with infant, toddler and small children's clothing for future gifts to pregnant friends because I can't resist clothes in miniature size that mimic adult fashion trends (size 2 Uggs, anyone?)
But I've decided that I prefer my 5 year olds in groups of 5 or less. I had the world's BEST Grade 1 teacher as a mentor for those 6 weeks that I was in there, so my experience was still fantastic. But I realized something about myself -- I don't do well with the bi-polar-like tendencies of little children. You know what I'm talking about. One minute they're kicking you in the shin because you're putting them in a time out away from story time after you caught them punching little Suzy and the next minute they're hugging you, crying and begging you not to leave them at 3:30 pm. Times that erratic behaviour by 25 and you have a breeding ground for disaster (in my mind, any way). Plus, I'm a fairly logical person, and have also discovered that you can't rationalize with little ones. ("She...*sniff*...called...me...*sniff*...stupid!" Ummm...what should my response be to this? You're going to forget this happened by lunchtime anyway! lol)
And so, after 3 more practicums in Grades 4 - 9, I took a maternity leave position for 7 months in Grade 5, followed by 4 solid years with Grades 9 - 12. And I loved every minute of it. Sure, 17 year olds might drop the occasional f-bomb in my direction or have serious problems that lead them down a potentially disasterous path in life, but they get it. As in sarcasm, logic, rational thought (I'm generalizing here).
However, I've never gotten over my fascination with all things "little kid". So when I first saw the SMART Table, I fell in love instantly! Bright colours? Dazzling effects? Collaborative activities? Cartoonish visuals? All within a beautiful, child-resistant casing that is designed to be at the child's level. LOVE. IT.
And so, I'm always ridiculously happy when I get a phone call/email from a client requesting me to come out and spend a day with their staff introducing the SMART Table. I love my job (have I mentioned that yet?)