Montessori Guide Shortage: Strategies For Overcoming Staffing Challenges
If you are a Montessori School Administrator, then you are most likely aware of the current shortage of Montessori trained guides. This seems to be the leading "crisis" facing most Montessori schools. Without Montessori trained guides, you cannot have a successful Montessori school and you won't be able to offer your families the quality of education you are aiming for.
So, what can you do to make things better?
Unfortunately for this dilemma, there is no one solution. Montessori training can be expensive and oftentimes not easy to access. Montessori training centers are far and few between and as online training is not a solid option for those who choose to become a Montessori teacher, there can be several obstacles in place for someone who chooses the Montessori path. Unfortunately, this issue is out of the hands of Montessori schools themselves.
This means that many Montessori schools have had to become their own recruiters. Finding talent, fostering it, and offering scholarships for training is something that many Montessori schools have had to accept in order to have guides with adequate training. If this works for your school, then that's great! If you simply don't have the resources to offer all of your guides training, then there are other strategies and solutions that could help you with this staffing dilemma.
We've got you covered with other Montessori staffing strategies ideas!
Utilize Your School Website
Your website is one of your most important assets as a business. Having a strong website can put you at a huge advantage not only when you are trying to get the right families to find your school, but also when you are trying to attract the right talent. If there are any Montessori trained guides in your area looking for work opportunities, they are going to be viewing schools in their area. More often than not, they will simply search for Montessori schools nearby before checking career websites like LinkedIn or Indeed.
Having a careers page on your website doesn't cost you any money and can be a great recruiting tool. Drawing applicants directly from your school website also allows them to browse through your programs, your school history, and your mission. This exploration is important for any applicant, as they are looking for the right fit for themselves.
When you create a Career page on your website, you want to keep it simple, informative, and to the point.
- List which roles you have available
- Summarize what is required and expected of each role
- Include your school's mission
- Include information on how to apply... or better yet, have an automated form that collects applications with just a few clicks.
Here are some great examples of what a careers page should look like (all of the following websites are designed and hosted by Nido Marketing):
Sandwich Montessori School wanted to create a careers page in order to help them find the right talent for their school. They have kept it simple and effective, listing the position available, what it entails, and a form to apply. The best part about having automated forms is that it is easy for the applicant and the school. Making your application process easy and accessible could increase the number of applicants. Then you'll have a larger pool to choose from when it comes time to make a hiring decision.
Casa di Mir Montessori chose to keep it clean and simple with their career page design. This is another great example of an effective careers page. The automated form in short and only asks for the applicants name, email, phone number, and their resume. Not asking a lot from the applicant at this stage is a positive. Your aim is to get them through this stage so that you can have an initial interview to see if they are the right fit.
Montessori Center of Our Lady has a very informative employment page on their school website. They have taken the time to write concise job descriptions and expectations for each available role. The text also reflects the mission and environment of this particular Montessori school effectively. This is another good option as it will ensure more appropriate applicants if you have someone very specific in mind. They have also made it as easy as possible to apply by creating an automated application form that can collect the contact information and resume of each applicant with just a few clicks.
Have Well Written Job Descriptions Ready To Go
Having strong job descriptions for your school's available roles will help you find the perfect fit. Every Montessori school is unique and offers its own working environment and culture, so ultimately, you are the best author when it comes to describing the job roles you are offering. But, maybe you need a place to start...
- Review job descriptions for the same role. Research descriptions on other school websites and career websites. This can serve as a good template that you can edit to reflect the role that you are offering.
- Ask for advice on a Montessori Community Forum or Group. There are Montessori leaders that have years of experience creating job descriptions—you can always ask them for advice!
- Check out the Montessori Thrive Resource exchange. There are staffing resources, including job description templates that you can download and use for free.
Have Clear Processes In Place For Applying, Hiring, & Onboarding
Having an overly complicated and drawn-out hiring process can have a negative impact on your staffing efforts. Have in mind that the applicant is interviewing and assessing you just as much as you are them. Having a clear and organized hiring process can make the hiring process easier for both parties.
Develop a hiring plan: Create a strong "blueprint" for hiring
- How many interviews do you plan to have for each role? (how many rounds)
- Is observation a part of your hiring process? If so, make sure they are able to take the time to come and observe.
- Is there a written element to your hiring process? Notify them that there is writing or project-related work during the hiring process.
- Create a checklist of must haves, for example: CPR tests, background checks, etc.
- Have clear onboarding processes so that each new hire feels eased into their new role.
Once you have received an application that you want to move forward with, contact them and break down the process. Let the applicant know what the interview process will entail, how long it might take, etc.
When you decide you want to hire them, you can move forward with the onboarding process, making sure that they are able to ease into their new position and feel comfortable in their new working environment. Having a good onboarding process assures that new hires feel welcome, have their questions answered, and can get started doing what you hired them to do!
Diversify Your Recruiting Channels
Have you been advertising a job role for your school for months on Indeed and haven't gotten any good leads? If so, it might be time for you to diversify your recruiting channels. Find various places to advertise!
- Publish job openings in local community newsletters.
- Post job openings on Montessori sites such as NAMTA, AMI/USA, and AMS.
- Attend career fairs at local high schools, colleges, and universities. Let people know that Montessori is an option for education training and that there are jobs waiting for them!
- Scout parents that dedicate a lot of their time to your school community. When a parent would make a good fit, you just know! Show them a pipeline to help them become Montessori assistants or guides.
- Join Montessori Facebook groups for leaders and guides. Get in touch with talent online. Some groups will even allow you to advertise job openings for free.
- Don't wait for applications to fall on your lap. Recruiters have to recruit. Search for guides with Montessori accreditation
on LinkedIn and reach out to them personally! Write them an introduction and let them know that you have an opportunity that could be beneficial to them.
- Use social media to promote job openings. Spread the word! Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great tools.
There are countless ways that you can reach out to new talent. Make sure you are posting opportunities in more than just one place!
If you have any other strategies when it comes to staffing in the Montessori space, drop a comment below!
If you want to connect with other Montessori leaders and discuss this topic, then join our Montessori Leadership Facebook group!