Learning Specialist Preschool and Elementary School
BY SHAYNE FUJII ’89
LEARNING THROUGH exploration and adapting to new ideas and cultures has always been a staple for Kate Dobson and her career. Dobson, Mid-Pacific’s current Learning Specialist for its pre-school and elementary school students, has really benefited from her experiences living abroad. “I have always loved living in new places and experiencing different cultures and different education philosophies,” she says.
Dobson was born and raised in Fairfield, Connecticut and experienced living abroad at a very early age as she spent three years in London during her elementary school years. It was at this time she learned the different styles of teaching and learning. “In London, I experienced inquiry-based learning for the first time,” says Dobson. “It was really fun working in groups and learning through exploration, as opposed to the more traditional learning I was used to back home.”
After graduating from Fairfield High School in 1988, Dobson went on to become an exchange student for one year in France where she lived with a French family and learned to speak their language fluently. “Living with a French family, I really learned the context behind their language, it gave me a great understanding of France and their culture,” she says. Dobson went on to get her undergraduate degree in political science and psychology at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, then got her master’s degree in communications disorders at San Francisco State.
Dobson then moved on to different teaching opportunities overseas as she spent several years at an international school in Jakarta, Indonesia, which is where she met her husband, Marin Dobson, a current teacher at Mid-Pacific. After teaching there for five years, they both moved on to teach in Shanghai, Zambia before both ending up here at Mid-Pacific. Dobson sees a lot of similarities between this school and the international schools where she has taught in regard to the focus on inquiry-based learning. “Mid-Pacific has similar values and beliefs from a global perspective,” says Dobson. “I really like the way this school incorporates the local Hawaiian culture.” Dobson and her husband currently have twin boys at Mid-Pacific in the 8th grade; August and Finn.
Dobson’s advice to youngsters today would be to learn how to work hard in life and that nothing comes easy which is ok. She feels this is important for parents to know as well as this is part of learning and life.