Missouri State University
Hannah Granger

Hannah Granger

  • Teacher, Noel Primary School
  • Noel, Mo.
  • BSEd, elementary education, 2012

Training to be an expert educator

MSU-Neosho student relies on empathy as a key tool for education.

Mrs. Granger, as she’s known to her classroom of first graders, is an experienced teacher. This is her sixth year teaching. She teaches 1st grade now, but she started as a 2nd grade teacher.  

Hannah, as most people call her, is a 2012 graduate of Missouri State-Neosho.

Along the way, she’s had many great role models. First, there is her mom. When Hannah was a kindergartner, her mom returned to school to become a teacher.

“I got to watch her throughout her career and I knew I wanted to be just like her.”

Learning from a mentor

Hannah started on her career path in high school. She took dual credit courses, and then completed her AAT degree at Crowder College. After earning her associate’s, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education at Missouri State University in Neosho.

There, she met other teachers who were influential in training her to teach. Another mentor along the way was Nick Nichols.

“His courses were relevant and he provided insight that I continue to use in my own classroom to this day.  Mr. Nichols believed that we all had the ability to become master teachers and he worked with each of us to become what that meant for us on an individual level.”

Preparing to meet her community’s needs

Having instructors who knew the struggles and advantages of education in our area was also incredibly useful.

Taking courses on the MSU Neosho campus had other benefits as well. In addition to saving travel time and cost, the flexibility was important to her. But above all, the educators she studied under had a deep understanding of education in the Joplin-Neosho area.

Once I became an educator in an incredibly diverse school, these experiences and their knowledge was invaluable.”

McDonald County, Missouri’s school district faces unique challenges.

“Our communities are rural areas that definitely face the impacts of migrant families, poverty and, unfortunately, drug use. Our instructors had experience teaching and leading teachers within these districts and were able to provide us examples of the students we may face.”

Her most important classroom skill

Missouri State helped Hannah to be successful when the time came for her to step inside her own classroom.

“Thanks to my instructors, I was better prepared when I received students who spoke no English, or students who were from abusive families, or students who faced food insecurities and homelessness.“

Now, as a veteran teacher, Hannah knows how to face a variety of classroom experiences. She continually attends professional development opportunities to hone her skills.

The most important skill for her classroom is empathy. Even though her students are young, Hannah knows they understand she’s there to help.

Hannah’s voice is incredibly important, not only to her students, but to the adults in the room, as well.

“Along with this comes the need for being an advocate.For many of my students, the opportunity to speak for themselves isn't there, so that's where I get to help them bridge that gap and advocate to my administration, school board, or outside sources for them.