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“My children saw that Mom can do it, and so can they”: Q&A with Tamar Shorr, MEd ’17

By Kara Wyman, MEd May 17, 2018

Earning an MEd as a mother of five and a military spouse is no small feat, but Support Teacher Tamar Shorr made it happen. Read on to find out what motivated her to pursue the MEd in Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics and how her Concordia experience lifted her personally and professionally.

What inspired you to become an educator?

I have a small army of different minds within my home. I have watched each of my five children grow into amazing members of society. I feel an instinctual need to help mold the minds of youth today. I am leaving my own mark on the future by helping to educate our future leaders.

Woman on stage in graduation cap and gown

Tamar Shorr, MEd ’17 at Concordia’s Commencement Ceremony

With five children, how were you able to balance your personal, professional, and academic life during our rigorous MEd program?

While working on my master’s degree, I found that anything is possible. During the program, we dealt with 2 moves and 3 military deployments–while raising 5 children. Although it would have been easier to stop, my children continued to motivate me. My children saw that Mom can do it, and so can they. The pride they have and the good example set forth is reason to succeed. I would do it all over again just for them.

You recently attended commencement on campus at Concordia University-Portland. What was going through your mind as you crossed that stage?

When walking across the stage, I was shaking! I was so excited, I could not stop smiling like a little schoolgirl. I thought about all the late nights getting a paper completed, all the times I felt I would not make it, and all the motivation my family gave me. My husband told me I must finish when I wanted to stop. My kids reiterated how amazing their mom is, following her dreams. My father bragged about my accomplishments and told me about how proud he is. My mother discussed the pressures of the classes and how great a teacher I am. My brother, sister, and friends cheered me on the entire time. When I wanted to stop, three-quarters of the way through my thesis, I kept repeating the mantra: I cannot let everyone down. I am almost done.

What skills did you gain or hone as a result of your program?

The Curriculum & Instruction: Mathematics program helped me to hone my skills of effectively differentiating lessons and understanding the differences in students. It is easy to teach an individual a lesson. It takes understanding and planning to meet the needs of all the students in a classroom.

What, if anything, did you appreciate about Concordia’s faith-based values?

Although I am Christian, I find the faith-based values in Concordia to be effective for people of all belief systems. It is important to give positive motivation. The values practiced are respectful to all and help promote a positive atmosphere.

What have you recently done that you’d like to share with fellow educators?

I recently completed training with an autistic student in November in Virginia. Since then, my family has relocated to California. Now I substitute in my school district and tutor students until my state certification is completed, which will occur this summer.

What keeps you motivated and passionate about education?

I enjoy seeing the youth of today grow and develop. As an educator, seeing a child’s growth is amazing. Watching a student have an “a-ha” moment warms my heart. I am a fourth generation educator and teaching is my calling.

What do you still hope to achieve?

I am excited to have my own classroom this coming school year. I look forward to helping all of my new students in different ways. I also plan to earn my doctorate in the future.

Kara Wyman has a BA in literature and an MEd from the University of California-Santa Barbara. She spent a decade working with adolescents as an English teacher, the founder and director of a drama program, a curriculum designer, and a project manager for a teen-centered nonprofit organization. She is now the Alumni and Community Manager for Concordia University-Portland.

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