Mrs. Amber Pharr grew up in a Christian family in the small town of Paducah, Kentucky, but she truly made her faith her own in college. For Mrs. Pharr, college was a time of transition and learning. She was affected not just spiritually but also academically. In high school, her favorite subject was history. She knew that she wanted to be a teacher and saw a history degree as the perfect jump start into that field. When she enrolled in Freed-Hardeman University as a history major, though, she quickly discovered that college history was very different from high school history. Fortunately, she had to take a business class as part of her core curriculum and it was in that class that she discovered her passion. She switched her major to business finance.
After earning her MBA in business finance, Mrs. Pharr met her husband and they moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, together. Mrs. Pharr started her career in a bank. She still wanted to teach, though, so she accepted a job as an “integrated business applications” teacher in a local public school. Teaching in a public school setting, she says, gave her valuable life experience that helped her grow as a teacher and as a person, but, with three little ones at home, Mrs. Pharr began looking for other options. She came across TPS by chance one day and emailed the staff an interest letter. She describes the experience as a God thing. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, Mrs. Pharr lives in Chatanooga, Tennessee, with her husband and three children. You might know her from The Potter’s School’s personal finance, integrated business applications, or introductory computer and online skills classes. Mrs. Pharr’s first goal for all of her students is that they would see their need for Christ. She doesn’t teach a bible class, but she believes that any subject can and should be used for His glory. Her hope and prayer for her students is that they will see the gracious love of God through their coursework. Even in a practical class like personal finance, she says, students can see God working on their own hearts and minds as they strive to become better stewards of their worldly goods. Many homeschooled students, particularly those using an online learning format, feel pressure to be the “perfect” student because they don’t have a clear standard to reach. They expect to be able to ace every assignment and are disappointed when they don’t. The problem is that this “perfect” student doesn’t exist. As students, our job is to learn, not hold ourselves to an unrealistic standard. To those students struggling with the concept of “good enough,” Mrs. Pharr reminds us that our teachers are there for us. Pushing yourself can be a good thing, she admits, but you need to know when you’ve done enough. Your teachers want you to master the material more than ace the test.
Having taught in many different settings before finding TPS, Mrs. Pharr could speak with some authority about the online platform in relation to the other options out there. She has been very impressed with the students in her classes since she is “used to students bolting out the door the second the bell rings.” She appreciates how TPS students thank their teachers after class and the serious, thoughtful discussions they have proven themselves capable of. She is grateful for the Christ-centered dynamic TPS provides. Within TPS, she can, as a teacher, speak freely about the faith and about something she hopes her students truly take to heart: God provides.