An education is about more than getting good grades; it’s about learning how to take control of your life. Mr. Simon Gauci, the Deputy Director for Student Services, has spent his career helping young people manage their lives and work towards their definition of success. He discusses his career as an educator as well as how Student Services helps MUIDS students overcome challenges both in and out of the classroom.
How did you start your career as an educator?
My wife and I began our careers as teachers in Canada. One morning in February 1998 so much snow was outside my door that I couldn’t open it. That was the day I spoke with my wife about the need for a change. I had long dreamt of living and working in another culture. We decided then to make the move together with our then two year old son. That was when I began living and working overseas, first as a teacher and then as an administrator. I worked in Kuwait, then Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, China, Macau and now Thailand.
You’re now the Deputy Director for Student Services at MUIDS. What exactly is the role of the Student Services Department at MUIDS?
Our primary function is counseling for social-emotional and academic needs, and to make certain students are on track to graduate. To achieve that result a hundred things over three years have to happen. We do our best to inform the community about what we do everyday to facilitate that process and to make sure kids are getting what they need.
We also help students when they’re experiencing transitional challenges. Some students need to learn how to build resiliency and a more constructive mindset. Our counselors help them do that. Their parents need to know that we’re here to serve them. We have a highly-trained, experienced team able to help them and their children.
As someone who’s spent a long time working with youth, from the streets of Toronto to the suburbs of Bangkok, what would you say is the most important lesson students can learn in high school?
In today’s world, right now, students need to learn about “self-agency.” They need to believe that they can speak to adults, that they have the right to advocate for themselves, and that they are capable of defining for themselves what they need to do to be successful in whatever path they take in life. The Student Services department is here to provide support, counseling, and direction for students who are learning how to manage their own lives.