To my knowledge, there is no agreed upon criteria for what constitutes a Top-Tier School. I imagine if my current school were 180 degrees different than how it is right now, it would stand as a symbol of Top-Tier-ness. At this point in my career, I unfortunately know all too well what a Top-Tier School is NOT...
Obviously, there’s more to a Top-Tier School than meeting teachers’ basic needs. Getting paid on time and receiving administrative protection from parents of overindulged brats who blame their child’s academic failures on everyone but themselves, should be a given. Diversity, standardized tests, accreditation, professional development, facilities, materials and much, much more certainly belong on a Top-Tier checklist. However, when teachers’ basic needs are not met, as in my current situation, it’s hard to prioritize much else.
Experience naturally influences each of our perception of what makes a Top-Tier School. And even if there were an agreed upon list, it would no doubt be skewed priority-wise in regards to what’s most important to each individual. In my current situation, my priority this recruiting season is finding a School that does not abuse their teachers, as evidenced by ISR Reviews. Everything else should then fall into place, moving down a list of priorities.
Your Tier-2 School may well be another person’s Tier-1. Do you have a short/long list of priorities? What indicators tell you a school is a GO? What sets off alarm bells? I could use some help this recruiting season separating the real Top-Tier Schools from those masquerading as such. I do not want to be fooled again!
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