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  • Sharon Shenbaum

Sometimes Your Childhood Is Your Career Building Block

I was the daughter to immigrant parents that emigrated from Israel to Canada. At home we spoke Hebrew but at a certain point English became the household language. As the years went by I became the household dictionary and translator. All letters that were sent (because I grew up in the age of hand written letters and faxes) I had to translate, and I hated it! I loved to read and I would engulf a book every couple of days. Nancy Drew was my favorite. As life would have it my parents divorced and my mother began to work in an office job that required her English skills to be top notch. English took front and center stage in our house and I became not only the translator but the editor and writer. In all my disregard for this world, which in a utopian state I loved it, I found myself running away from it.

Time went on and came the day to decide what I will be when I grow up. I was 18 years old standing at the university registrar’s office and I was adamant that I will do nothing with the arts. I will be a doctor more specifically a surgeon (a cardiologist). Maybe it was all the "ER” that I was watching. George Clooney can really take a toll on you. I was sure that dealing with numbers and technicalities of science was an excellent career choice for me. FYI I am not a numbers person, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that science and medicine was not for me. But still, I didn’t give up and I transferred into nursing. Being that it is a more personable field I was sure this was it. I found myself crying every day... Between crying from patient stories and not understanding bio-chemistry I found myself skipping those classes to sit and listen in on English literature and art history classes. On the bus to work (a Starbucks barista at the time) I would miss my stop because I was nose deep into Dickens, Huxley and the artistic world of Renoir and Monet.

I started to feel like I was wasting my time and needed to complete something! I was 21 years old and I felt that I was getting old (if I only knew then how young I was). It was the beginning of the fall semester and I still had a week to change my courses.  I went to the registrar’s office and literally applied to first program that had space. The course that had two spots left was early childhood education. I began to study and work in education which I found I had a real talent at. I enjoyed it and it was fulfilling.

My work as a preschool teacher brought me to Israel on a teachers program where I met my husband. I fell in love and never looked back. It was the boldest decision that I ever made, but it was also the only decision where I listened 100% to my gut feelings. I continued to study in Israel, not in early childhood education but as an English teacher. I was practical. I was an English speaker and English teachers were scarce. Maybe fate was playing its hand…  

It has been said that children and pregnancy changes a woman. Each pregnancy changed me. Tweaked my personality. Re-directed my skills. Strengthened me and taught me to know what I want.

When I was pregnant with my first son, Evyatar, I was put on bed rest and could not teach. Nine months is a long time to sit and stare at the ceiling. I began writing as a pass-time. I began writing lesson plans, assuming I would be back at work after maternity leave and wanted to make life easier for me once returning to teaching. My lesson plans turned into research on how to teach English. I began devising a method and kept writing. My lesson plans eventually transformed into workbooks (as of date three workbooks which are series). My husband saw what I had created and pushed me to start my own business. That is how Simplish began. I took my books, marketed them for elementary schools and daycares and founded my own English after-school program. I loved it and enjoyed every moment, even the days that were hard with all their learning curves. However, I still felt something was missing. I was missing the expression of my creative side. I was missing the element of writing about topics that mattered to me or interested me. I had also felt that I had more to give than ‘just’ teach English.

Shift number two took its turn and I was pregnant with my second son, Nevo, where I was again put on bed rest. This time I wasn’t staring at a wall or writing lesson plans. This time I working as a freelance content writer to bring in extra income. In those four walls of my apartment I felt alive. I was writing about interesting topics, politics, education, fashion, and even real-estate (that was less interesting). People were telling me that I had a knack for writing and I started slowly but surely to believe them. This area of creative writing and expression was the missing piece for me.

Since then, Simplish has expanded and re-focused to the world of content. I am Simplish and Simplish is content. Welcome to the new face of Simplish.


contentwriting childhood careerchanges