Missouri State University
Dianna Chamberlain

Dianna Chamberlain

  • Math teacher, Southwest City Elementary School, McDonald County R-1 School District
  • Southwest City, Missouri
  • BS, elementary education, 2013

MSU-Neosho educates students, fellow educators on tech and community

Dianna Chamberlain’s approach to teaching takes her to other classrooms, where she educates other educators about technology.

Amidst a busy school year, Dianna Chamberlain is preparing for the Midwest Educators Technology Community Conference.

Chosen as a Spotlight Educator, she will present and lead sessions at this February’s conference. Dianna is an alumna of the elementary education Neosho cohort, and is now a working educator. 

“I currently teach mathematics to seventh and eighth grade students at Southwest City School in the McDonald County-R1 School District.”

Dianna has been a teacher at McDonald County for six years. She started teaching in the district after graduating from MSU.  

Like many students who earn their degree through MSU on the Crowder Campus, Dianna was a nontraditional student. 

“My husband is a teacher and for 18 years, I stayed home and cared for our four children and watched him grow in a career that he loved.”

A campus setting to meet her needs

When her youngest daughter started kindergarten, Dianna went back to school. As a nontraditional student, she benefited from having a classroom option close to home.

“I went through the program at the Crowder College campus in Neosho and was able to be certified to teach English/language arts and math for grades 5-9 in addition to my elementary certification.”

Dianna attended classes five days a week for most semesters.  

“My travel time was cut in half from what it would have been, if I had to take classes in Joplin.” 

Dianna entered her education program with a cohort of other students also seeking education degrees. Taking classes with the same group of students over the course of the program has some advantages. Plus, she appreciated having the option to take classes face-to-face. 

“When you spend that much time in class with the same people, you get to know one another pretty well. We all had a common goal and desire to see others succeed. We built bonds and friendships with one another. Some have stayed in touch and many of us are currently teaching in the same school district.”

She also got to know her faculty really well. Dianna found the faculty to be supportive and realistic about the struggle educators face. One instructor, Shirley Cummings, still stands out to Dianna. 

“When I began student teaching, I was nervous about teaching 4th grade students, because I really wanted to work with older students. She [Cummings] reassured me and made sure I knew she had faith in my abilities.”

Educating other educators 

Edcamp Magic conference attendees in large room.

Dianna is now a veteran teacher who excels at teaching and supporting both her students and fellow educators.

In addition, she is a co-founder of an organization called EdcampMagic. They offer opportunities for educators to come together and discuss innovative teaching ideas and practices.

EdcampMagic is based on the inspiration, innovation, and imagination of Walt Disney and is hosted near Orlando, Fla. 

“In addition to the METC conference and EdcampMagic. I am also a co-moderator for #MOedchat. This is a chat about a variety of topics of interest to educators and other stakeholders in education that takes place each Thursday night at 8 p.m. on Twitter.” 

Educating beyond the curriculum

At the heart of all her success, of course, is a deep love for teaching. 

"Helping students build a deep understanding of the content I teach and how it applies to their lives is just one part of what I do as a teacher.  Many of my students face challenges in their lives that are much bigger than anything I ever faced at their age and I want them to know that they are not alone.

"Middle school can be a tough time in a child's life, and it is important to me that I remember I am helping them learn to cope with the challenges they face in life, not just in my math classroom.”