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Amber is the School Counselling Coordinator at BISP. This is her fourth year at BISP and her seventh year in the field of Counselling. As the daughter of a Canadian diplomat, Amber attended international schools around the world before embarking on her undergraduate degree in Canada. After graduating with a degree in Theatre Studies, Amber worked as an actor for several years. Her love of theatre drew her to New York City where she eventually pursued her Masters in School Counselling from Hunter College. Prior to moving to Phuket, Amber worked as a School Counsellor at the International School of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Her unique experiences and skills in adaptability and cultural transitions come in handy when making connections with the diverse BISP community.
We took some time to ask Amber a few questions and get to know her better.
What is your role as School Counselling Coordinator and how do you anticipate the BISP community will connect with you?
Although my role of School Counselling Coordinator is new this year, I have been working as a Whole School Counsellor at BISP since 2020. Throughout my time here I have focused on building positive relationships with students, staff and parents to support their social and emotional needs. Now that our team has expanded, I am excited to utilise the many skills and talents our team members bring so that everyone in the community can have someone to connect with. My goal is to offer a safe space for all where individuals feel heard, respected and validated as they navigate life’s ups and downs.
What do you enjoy most about working in education?
Watching students transform through knowledge and experience is so rewarding. Oftentimes, students come into the counselling office feeling defeated or dejected about some aspect of their lives. The fact that we have so many opportunities to see them strive, and often thrive in meeting the challenges of being a young person today allows us to reflect on the strengths and successes we have witnessed and remind them of their resilience.
What attracted you to BISP?
I was very attracted to BISP’s mission statement and focus on Wellbeing. Although the Wellbeing curriculum delivery has evolved over the years, it is clear that the school places importance on enhancing that provision for all students.
What’s a professional skill, or area of interest, that you’re keen on developing at BISP?
I would love to keep exploring the idea of a Peer Support Group for students. Over the years we have experimented with different approaches to having a team of students who are ready and willing to help their peers, especially with settling into BISP. The challenge I have faced is finding the balance between the initiative being student-led or more teacher-driven. I am keen to keep working on this nuance.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
I love to sing and be on stage. I also love to do yoga, dance and spend time with my husband and son.
What behaviour or personality trait do you most attribute your success to, and why?
My ability to adapt to my environment has been extremely helpful as I’ve moved around the world. I also call on the diplomatic skills I learned from my father to help me manage difficult conversations and be the best advocate I can for our community.
What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Keep pursuing the things you love, no matter what your inner and outer critics say.