At the end of last academic year, Tsinghua International School (THIS) welcomed our new guidance counselor, Ashley Perkins. Ms. Perkins came on board to create a comprehensive counseling curriculum and to help students having trouble with social, emotional, or any life problems. We had the chance to sit down with Ms. Perkins and find out more about her as well as the essential role she will play as our guidance counselor.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m originally from Detroit, Michigan, from the east side, but I spent five years in Chicago working and studying. Last year, I was at a private school outside of Chicago doing school counseling. I originally got my degree in psychology and counseling so I was working a lot with adults but I was also working with students. That was when I realized I really wanted to be in a school setting.
What were your first impressions of Beijing so far?
My first impression was that it felt like any other big city. It didn’t feel that foreign to me which was good so I feel like that helped with my adjustment in China and I’m really excited to explore more of the city. I went to the old Summer Palace and it was really nice but I’ve also been able to go into the city and see some of the hutong neighborhoods. In terms of food, I had some really good dumplings. I would go back to those dumplings every day if I could.
How has your experience at THIS been so far?
I like it a lot. I think that the students have been really great in terms of accepting me as their new counselor and everyone’s been very nice and open. The faculty and staff here are amazing and helpful and it just feels that this school has a really warm environment, which I think fosters learning. I hope to create a comprehensive counseling curriculum but basically, I want to be able to connect with every student. I want to be a resource for students and I want to be able to educate students on social and emotional topics. I want the students to feel comfortable coming to me and, in order to do that, I definitely plan on being more involved in with the school.
What kind of problems can students come to you with?
Students can come to me for a lot of different things such as academic issues so if you’re struggling in a class or just stressed out because there’s too much work. Socially so friends, family or emotionally anything like that or if you’re feeling down one day and you have no one to talk to, come talk to me. Which song best describes you as a teacher and as a person? A song that describes me is Brown Eyed Girl by Jan Morrison. My mother used to sing it to me when I was little. It always reminds me of that time.
Do you have any hobbies?
I like yoga. I like scrap booking and taking pictures and putting them together with fun stickers and different papers. I’m really into Game of Thrones, Big Bang Theory, and Grey’s Anatomy even though it’s been on for such a long time, but I just can’t stop watching it at this point.
If a student walks in your office and is stressed out over a boyfriend or girlfriend problem, how do you advise them to release his or her stress?
Definitely talking with your boyfriend or girlfriend about the issue can help clean things up and alleviate your stress. Another way is to focus on something positive like your friends or family to distract you from the problem.
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