We Are Crew, Not Passengers!

Tamara Shaffer

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About Me

What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

Watching my own children grow and play inspired me to become involved in their education.  I soon realized that I had a passion for teaching and learning and made some changes in my life.  I decided to go back to school to become an educator.  The unique philosophy at Polaris aligns very closely to my beliefs and pedagogy.  I love teaching at an Expeditionary Learning School!  I am proud to work in a close-knit environment that teaches in the way I believe is best for children.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

The most rewarding part of my job is definitely the children!  Being a part of their lives, experiencing their unique personalities, and watching them grow and learn is amazing!

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

I started my career in education as an instructional designer for Colorado State University.  I then taught as adjunct faculty at CSU in the Human Development and Family Studies department.  After about three years working primarily with other educators and undergraduate students, I realized that I wanted to interact more directly with children.   I took a job writing grants for my department in the afternoons so that I could serve as a master teacher at CSU’s Early Childhood Center in the mornings.  When a teaching position opened up to teach full time at Polaris, I knew that is where I wanted to be.  I have been teaching at Polaris since 2008 and have been involved with the school community since 2004.

Formal Education:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology
  • Bachelor of Science in Human Development
  • Master of Science in Family and Developmental Studies


I spend a lot of time with my extended and nuclear family; we are close-knit bunch.  I have two sons who are now grown and on their own.  I have a dog and I love to do anything outdoors with him.  I also like to spend time gardening and working in my yard.


Thought Provoking Quote: 

“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”

                                                              Albert Einstein

My Classroom

Courses I Teach: 

Elementary - 2nd/3rd Grade

Elementary Gifted Coordinator

About My Classroom: 

I currently teach a combined second and third grade class.  My teaching partner Brittany and I work closely and our classes interact on a daily basis.  We follow the Expeditionary Learning philosophy and constantly expose our students to hands-on learning, fieldwork, and experts in our expeditions.  All of our teaching and learning follows a workshop model to ensure that students are not only actively learning, but they are learning independence and leadership skills as well.  It is my goal to help children grow to their full potential in all areas of their lives.  We often spend time talking about character development and exploring social and emotional concepts.  I like to think that my classroom is a fun place where we laugh and joke often as we persevere to produce quality work.

PSD does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran status, age or disability in access or admission to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. A lack of English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation.