After earning an undergraduate degree in education, Deborah Hobelman moved to Japan for a one-year commitment to work as a ministry intern. One year in Japan turned into two, then three, and now she is just a few months away from celebrating her 12-year “Japaniversary.” Hobelman will also soon celebrate earning her Master of Arts in Education from Baker University School of Education.
When looking for a graduate program, it was important to Hobelman that the program be fully online and allow for a focus on technology integration in the classroom. Because Baker’s MAEd program allows students to personalize their education by choosing a concentration, Hobleman found it to be a perfect fit.
Hobelman is a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Tohoku International School in Sendai Japan. She also works as the coordinator of the Primary Years Program at TIS, where she facilitates collaborative planning and reflection meetings to help coordinate professional development for her colleagues. For her, teaching is the best job in the world—regardless of the location. And she believes that this degree has put her on the path to success, even from 6,000 miles away.
“Baker has allowed me to pursue my professional goals abroad, engage in meaningful dialogue with professors and cohort colleagues in other parts of the world, and the opportunity to move forward in leadership roles in my school,” Hobelman said. “Throughout the program, I have had time to revisit and refine my personal philosophy of teaching and think about how the experiences and expertise my Baker classmates shared in our weekly discussions might translate to a classroom in which most students are Japanese or from other Asian countries.”
After watching both her parents succeed in their education careers, Hobelman knew she too wanted to experience the same joy and passion in her profession.
“I love learning new things in general and find that if I truly want to learn about something deeply and remember it, I should teach it to someone else,” Hobelman said. “Witnessing the moment when something ‘clicks’ for students or when they find true appreciation for art, that’s one of the most rewarding experiences there is. I get to be a lifelong learner and enjoy watching my students develop their skills, talents, and passions in the process.”
As an international student and educator, Hobelman worried about the logistics and differences she would experience throughout her Baker experience. Balancing work and school and managing a 15-hour time difference was a struggle, but for her, the outcome was well worth it.
“Ultimately, I felt really grateful that I gained a lot of insight on what is happening in schools in the United States,” Hobelman said. “I realized how much schools, teachers, students, and their families have in common with each other, no matter where they are in the world.”
Hobelman will join 96 other graduates on December 17 at the Commencement Ceremony for graduates earning master’s and doctoral degrees. The ceremony begins at 4 p.m. in Collins Center in Baldwin City, Kansas.