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Old 10-27-2010, 08:03 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
32 posts, read 112,131 times
Reputation: 56

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What are the job opportunities like in New Orleans for guidance counselors and school psychologists? Is there a need for them within the schools (public or charter)?

Thanks for any feedback!
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
1,213 posts, read 2,127,959 times
Reputation: 1325
I was a high school teacher in Lafayette and now I sub in New Orleans schools, so I can speculate fairly accurately on this one. I would have to imagine that the demand in public schools is high, especially since new schools are opening and young ones are expanding and adding grades. They're definitely hiring over here! Now for the cons. The system is all de-centralized, and there are all types of jurisdictions that have a hand in governing different schools. Many schools (charter) only worry about themselves but still have to loosely fall under the umbrella of someone. The easiest answer to say is that there is the city-run New Orleans Public Schools and the state-run Recovery School District.

Things seem very, very disorganized. I don't know if you can relate to this but I knew something was wrong when my first 5 assignments at schools in the city (as opposed to neighboring Jefferson Parish) the teacher didn't bother to leave a lesson plan for me. RSD is saturated with out of state people, from first year teachers to administrators. This to me results in a disconnect with the community, despite the fact that most of the people in question are fabulous. NOPS was allowed (or chose) to only keep the best, selective admissions schools, so working there is probably much harder at this point, AND you have to deal with the stupidity of the New Orleans of old.

And the next thing I'm telling you may not phase you at all and be what you signed up for, but you need to understand some of the things you will hear from these kids you've never heard ever, and never thought you would. The violence is so bad here because of this insulated subculture that affects some, but not all, of the poor African-American community in this city. There are some young people who aren't even 13 and already don't value anyone's life, have seen and done things we can't even dream of. There is a huge mistrust and anger towards outsiders. Teachers, administrators, whites, asians, hispanics ("dem damn Mexicans") are the enemy to some of these kids..let me emphasize SOME and not all. But it's a higher number than I've seen anywhere else and certainly I ever believed to be possible. I've been loathed as a human being for showing up and trying to conduct class as a sub. That being said, you can do so much good here because these young people need someone with the courage and compassion to make a difference. Good luck!

Last edited by aab7855; 10-27-2010 at 09:29 AM..
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:31 AM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
32 posts, read 112,131 times
Reputation: 56
Wow, thank you for your feedback. It was very informative.

New Orleans demographics would be something different than what I am used to. I have worked in the Dallas public school district for the past 6 years, where the majority of our student population is Hispanic. I teach at a Title I school and considering the neighborhood my school services, we tend to receive children with all kinds of issues. My school is about 80% hispanic, with our second largest population being African-American. The culture you speak of, the "them" and "us" is something I see even with my own students, being an African-American female teacher working with predominantly Mexican/Mexican-American youth. However, I do not think that it is as strong here as you described the way it is in New Orleans. That interests me. I am a certified school counselor and working towards my school psychologist specialization, so I would probably thrive in the environments with children with severe behavioral issues and learning difficulties. I totally understand where you are coming though. Many of the teachers here are from Lousiana, a few from the New Orleans area, and they have told me the EXACT same thing.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Pereira, Colombia
1,213 posts, read 2,127,959 times
Reputation: 1325
If you have any other questions, let me know! After all the Louisiana exodus to Texas (including large parts of my family) it would be great to get some of the best and brightest from the Lonestar State. I've been to Dallas once and I remember seeing all these Louisiana plates or Texas plates from New Orleans dealerships, I love the exchange! Boiled crawfish is serious business in Beaumont and Houston.

I think you understand that what I told you has nothing to do with race and everything to with a particular subculture. When I taught at Carencro High School just north of Lafayette I saw some pretty raw rural poverty as well as city problems because CHS borders Lafayette neighborhoods. The school was 50-50 Black/White and I wouldn't trade those kids for anything, even the ones who had it rough and gave me hell. The kids were different over there.. you had people living really rough lives but there wasn't so much anger and "us and them" sentiment.

Now really is the time to come to New Orleans. I know I laid out the cons for you pretty bluntly, but the fact that we're trying to change and better our schools is one of the greatest things to ever happen.
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:47 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
32 posts, read 112,131 times
Reputation: 56
I appreciate your honesty! I totally understood what you meant about the subcultures. What amazes me is how it varies from place to place. In education, it will be different from school to school. Teachers can walk into a position expecting one thing and are handed another! This is why it's good to know where you will be, and your thoughts are giving me insight. I thought about New Orleans when considering job opportunities because I thought that there may be a need in the city, with the whole restructuring of the schools. I know many teachers flocked to the area, old and especially new. I just wondered about the other positions, like counselors or psychologists, that you generally do not see recruited or advertised as heavily as teachers. (Just a sidenote: I am not sure if you have seen the recently released documentary "Waiting For Superman", but it makes it seems that charter schools are the saviour to the failing inner-city public school systems. I really thought they would delve into what is happening in New Orleans, Lousiana, but it focused mainly on DC. I just think the city would have been a perfect target for the documentary since it really emphasized charter schools.) Anyway, here in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, there are opportunities but it is quite competitive (especially with the guidance counselor positions). New Orleans is not so far away from home that I would not mind making that transition if I received a position. I guess it would be a matter of getting my foot in the door once I finish my program and just really playing up the experience I have. I am visiting New Orleans this weekend, so maybe I will get a chance to talk to some friendly locals and get their input. But you have been extremely helpful!
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