How long have you worked at Educational Insights?
I started here in 2005, so eight years.
What drew you to working here?
I was a teacher. I had been a teacher for 11 years and I really enjoyed it, but I was ready for a change. I wanted to stay in education, and I found this job off monster.com and it looked interesting. That’s how I wound up here!
So, you taught math and science, right?
Yes, 7th and 8th grade. It’s fun because the kids are old enough to talk and interact with the teacher, but they’re young enough to come running into the room and say, “What are we doing today, Mrs. Balter!”
What was your favorite toy growing up?
It might have to be my stuffed rabbit, Marshmallow, which I still have in my closet.
What’s your favorite toy here at EI?
My current favorite might be the Solar System Mapping Tool, just because that’s my idea. I find it useful, and I think it’s fun and cool to take your class out. I love the idea that you instantaneously understand relative distances in the solar system with it.
In terms of my kids, my favorite toy is the Wonder World Map. It’s a gigantic map with velcro locations that you take on and off; it’s a map of the world. That thing has been growing with my kids since day one. As babies, it hung over the changing table, so when they were frustrated with their diaper changes, they could just pull the pieces off and throw them on the floor. And now as they’re getting older, they’re interested in what’s on the map, where things go, and where we live. My sister’s been doing that with her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter (I gave her one). That map is just super cool. It looks good on the wall! It’s a really great product.
Are there any products that you got the okay for, but never got manufactured?
Oh yeah, there are a whole bunch of things. Last year, we had a math game that the inventor of Inching Along sent us that I liked that involved using a balance scale, and that never got manufactured.
How is your life outside of work? What is life like for Nancy outside of the office?
Chasing two children around. That is all I do. I do love it—sometimes it’s boring, but most of the time I love it. I either pick up the kids or have my husband home with the kids, and we chase them around or try to get them to consume something and change their diaper, or usher them into the potty!
How old are your kids?
I have a 3 –year-old and a sixteen-month old. They’re perfect and they stand around being cute all day.
Do you have any kind of thing you do that gets your creativity flowing?
Right now as my kids are getting older, watching them and seeing what they’re interested in and seeing what they’re doing in school helps a lot in terms of my creativity and coming up with product ideas. Searching online helps a lot. Just before I came here I was actually just looking on YouTube to see what people are doing with the metric system. Seeing what teachers are doing now also helps a lot.
I sometimes laugh that the only free time I have is when I shower or when I drive. And, honestly, that’s when I come up with most of my ideas because you can’t do anything else but think when you’re in the shower or driving. That’s pretty much where I get my inspiration.
List of Favorites:
Well, I was born on the first day of spring, so spring.
I love The Shawshank Redemption.
There’s a coconut soup that I love at Thai restaurants…and really good pizza. Chocolate, always. The hip things that I love at the moment are goat cheese and balsamic vinegar. Over the summer, blackberries and mangoes.