I “worry” at the challenge of expanding Montessori education in my free time, which is not to say that I am either obsessed and overwrought or that I have the silver bullet answer. Some people do Sudoku or crossword puzzles when bored, I think about expanding Montessori education, and specifically AMI because it is the organization in which I trained and am a member.
AMI has training centers around the world, and it is my understanding that the ideal class size for a training course is approximately 20-25 students. An ideal primary class size is 30 children and 1 trained teacher. I was thinking about the level of school and enrollment growth is necessary to support a training center under the ideal circumstance that each graduate starts teaching immediately. I am a visual thinker and made this image to represent the information.
Each training course requires 1 trainer (purple) and 1 training center (red building) to produce about 24 trained guides (orange) who require about 24 primary environments (green) to follow approximately 720 children (red). This of course assumes that teachers are entering established environments, rather than creating a new environment which would require 240 children (red) rather than 720.
I don’t have access to data or statistics regarding teacher turn over or school growth, but I do receive the AMI-USA newsletter and can draw some conclusions as a result.
There are 10 Primary (3-6) Level courses in the United States (Atlanta, Miami, Hartford, Washington D.C., St. Paul, St. Louis, Dallas, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco). Many of these courses are academic year formats, while others are summer course formats that only graduate guides every other summer.
Next year I estimate that (6 Academic Programs +1/2 of 4 Summer Programs =) 8 courses will graduate approximately 150 trained Montessori guides (assuming an average of 18 students complete each course and pass the exams).
At the time this article was published there were 19 Primary Guide positions listed on the AMI-USA website. Admittedly this is not the peak hiring season, but I will be surprised if there are 150 positions advertised in the spring. (I will check again in a few months).
So here are my unanswered questions:
If there are 150 graduates each year, and it is unlikely that 150 new jobs open each year, how many graduates begin teaching immediately? How many never go into teaching? How many choose to work as assistants and how many work as assistants because it is the only job available?
How many teachers retire each year?
How many new environments open each year?
What can be done to open more environments to meet the supply of trained guides each year?