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Middle Tier / 2nd Tier Schools

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by msnessy, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. msnessy

    msnessy New commenter

    I realise this may be a stupid question but how do you identify a middle tier school? I know how to spot the top tier schools & I've done time in the lower tier and one that I think aspired to being lower tier, but how do I identify middle tier?
     
  2. msnessy

    msnessy New commenter

    I realise this may be a stupid question but how do you identify a middle tier school? I know how to spot the top tier schools & I've done time in the lower tier and one that I think aspired to being lower tier, but how do I identify middle tier?
     
  3. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    Great question! And impossible to answer definitively since the whole tier concept is basically subjective. My understanding of what makes a school top tier in most people's minds is some combination of high marks for facilities, package (and or housing), quality of staff/academic rigor, reputation and organizational integrity (and possibly location).
    A lower tier school (and sub lower tier) will have obvious deficits in most if not all of these same categories. Although when I think about our first school in Egypt, the facilities were OK, the package and housing was almost OK and they paid us what they had agreed to pay us, on time (and no one got fired mid year). I've since read many horror stories that made me think we were in a relatively benign lower tier school (for want of a better term).
    So, a mid tier school will be either middle/mediocre/average in terms of the above factors, or will be above average in some areas, and average in others. Maybe everything about the school is great except the package is a little light. Or the package is great, facilities good, but a review of the place has words like bullying admin., tyrant, high staff turnover. There will be some factor that keeps it from being an obvious top choice for many job-searching teachers. That factor may be different for different people (and may just be that the location makes it seem hardship posting).
    That's my contribution FWIW. It is subjective in many cases and one man's second tier is another man's Hell High based on expectations, experience and temperament.
     
  4. It is pretty subjective. Kind of like rating people on how good looking they are. There'll be a few peope that most of us can agree are gorgeous. A few that are down right ugly and then a whole lot inbetween.
    Personally for me middle tier would be decent package but not great and a place that did what they'd said (so paid on time, provided accommodation that matched what you'd been told etc). A place where reasonable people could work happily without fear of untoward happenings. The sort of school where not many people broke contract (there'll always be the odd one who does, even in a top tier) and where most people stayed more than the minimum amount of time.
     
  5. I would look for investment in classroom facilities and professional development for one thing. A school which allows its staff and rooms to stagnate would be definitely middle tier at best. The lack of a useful, up to date website would be enough to relegate a school to the second rank, which is not to say that the presence of a good website is enough to promote it.


    Also, the length of time that senior management have been in place may be a clue. If the heads (and deputies) are rolling in less than four or five years, that would indicate to me that the school doesn't know what it's doing in terms of recruitment or retention. Or that there's some underlying problems that are causing conflict.


    Having said all that it would be foolish to look at one factor in isolation, just as it would be wrong to take only one person's opinion.
     

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