“This is exactly what I was meant to do.”
Tara Crearer has been a teacher for eight years and lives in Oregon with her husband of four years and their two young children. She is currently teaching high school students online at Oregon Connections Academy.
On what inspired her to become a teacher Tara says, “I was working for my aunt, a 6th-grade science teacher. I was helping her organize her room and papers and finishing some crafts for the next day. It was her prep period, and she was talking with her coworker. They were talking about their work and general things, and I realized that they were just normal people.
I realized that I could be a teacher too, even though I didn’t get perfect grades in school and had trouble turning things in on time. I was a History Major at the time, so I talked with my advisor the next week and added Education to my degree, along with another year and a half of schooling. When I thought more about becoming a teacher, I realized this is exactly what I was meant to do. I love what I do, and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.”
Life as a Teacher
Tara has devoted eight years to her students and as a result, has many great memories to share. She tells Homes for Heroes, “You don’t go into teaching for awards and certificates. That’s not why any of us do this. I’m also not naive enough to believe I’m going to have a profound impact on every student’s life. I’m available for all of my students, and I care deeply about them, but there are a just a few every year that I know I connect with and help through something difficult. That, for me, is everything, and exactly why I do this.”
“Working online adds an extra level of difficulty because you can’t always connect with your students over the phone, or even when we have a lesson online. Today, I had four students come to my LiveLesson, and we talked about why they chose an online school. I really got to talk with them, and hear their experiences. One student at the end said, ‘This was great. I wasn’t expecting to have such a great conversation with a teacher!’ When you get that moment with a student, it makes everything else worth it. This particular student shared with me that they had a bad experience in school and came to online school because of it. I felt so bad for this kid, this kid who just wanted to learn and be successful.”
“If there is one thing I will always do for every single one of my students, it’s advocate for them. I tell them all that being different isn’t bad, it’s just different, and the world is full of brilliant people who just happen to be different.”
A Family Created
After college, Tara took a job as a project manager for a nonprofit organization, Great Shape! Inc. Through this organization, Tara taught young children to read through math, art, and sports and helped bring free dental care to Jamaica. Of her time there she says, “I fell in love with the organization, the kids, and with Jamaica. That time in my life will always stand out to me as being very special. I met the love of my life there, and I grew a lot as a person. For two years, I spent three months of my summer working with these incredible people, and I wouldn’t trade those memories for the world.”
Tara and her husband, Kemar, were married in 2014, and they welcomed their daughter, Keira, the same year. They also have a one-year-old son Kellan, who Tara says, ”Is just the coolest little guy. He’s so calm and easy going. Keira is a spitfire. She has lots of energy and keeps us on our toes. Having Kellan added a nice balance to our lives as parents. We just adore them both.”
When asked about the secret to a great marriage, Tara said, “Kemar and I make a great team. We truly love one another. We laugh at the same jokes and make each other laugh, which is so important. Kemar loves me for who I am. He loves everything about me, and that’s something that I needed in a relationship, to be loved for me and not to be expected to change for anyone.”
When asked if she feels if her career choice has been a positive or a negative one, Tara says, “Absolutely positive. I love my job and I love making a difference in the lives of others. I won’t make a difference in the lives of all of my students, and I know that. But if they need me, I’m there. I want to be the constant in their lives if they don’t have one anywhere else. They know they can call me, even if I’m not in my office because I care. What I’ve gained the most from my time as a teacher is accepting that people are who they are and it’s not my job to change that. Sometimes, just letting them know that I care and I’m here if they need to talk is enough.”
“I want to continue teaching. I don’t know if it will be online forever, but it will be teaching forever. Also, I want to write good children’s books, ones that parents can enjoy as well. There’s nothing worse than your kid having a favorite book that you can’t stand. I know exactly the kind of book I want to write, I just need to get to it. It can be tricky being a full-time mom, full-time teacher and balancing everything in between, but I’m getting there.”
Tara and her husband, Kemar, plan to buy a home and to work with Homes for Heroes through that process. “I just recently found out about Homes for Heroes. My husband and I are looking to find a house, so I’ll be signing up, for certain. I love that a program like this exists for teachers. It’s great to be recognized as a hero, although I never think of myself that way. I sincerely appreciate that there are companies like this out there that are willing to go above and beyond to make sure that our home buying experience is going to be amazing.”
Homes for Heroes wants to thank Tara and teachers like her everywhere. We know how much you give of yourself to your students, and that you often do it with little to no thanks. We want you to know that at Homes for Heroes we see you, and we thank you.