A comprehensive study of the American education system by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has revealed that the productivity of schools in the country has dropped to below 1989 levels. What is particularly alarming is that private schools are performing worse than public schools. Automated substitute management software can change this.
Battered by the declining budgets owing to economic downturns and increased enrollment of children with special needs, schools are under pressure to reduce their expenses. Inevitably, some schools compromise on the quality of their service by reducing the quality of teachers, teacher-student ratios, and/or the curriculum.
Is there a way to prevent this?
Can schools improve productivity without compromising the quality of education they impart to their students?
Technology – in this case, a modern substitute teacher software – could be the answer!
A fully-featured substitute teacher software can streamline, and even automate, many of the tasks and operations of a school, thereby reducing their workloads and freeing up precious human resources to focus on what’s truly important – children’s education.
Here are some of the benefits offered by substitute management systems:
1. Saves Time on Communication
The typical substitute assignment works something like this: the teacher contacts the relevant official to report their absence, the absence is recorded, and then the school calls up different candidates until a substitute accepts the assignment.
This exercise can easily take up anywhere between half an hour to an hour or more of the administrator’s productive time each day.
An automated substitute management software allows self-reporting of absences by teachers, and then automatically sends notifications –push notifications, emails, or text notifications – to potential substitutes. Once a substitute accepts the request, they’re scheduled for the class.
No human interactions apart from absence reporting. So, no lost productivity on what’s essentially a simple task.
2. Streamlines Substitute Management Process
A school substitute system eliminates inefficiencies across the process. Schools get the latest data on who’s available for what hours or days. So, they don’t have to call up each candidate to get this info.
Instead, schools review the lists of who is available, select them, and send them notifications. Once the substitute accepts the job, they’ll receive real-time alerts too. What would otherwise take hours can now be done in a matter of seconds.
3. Eliminates Paperwork and Spreadsheets
Filling, filing, storing, and accessing paperwork can often be time-consuming and labor-intensive tasks. Moreover, they are not the most efficient way to run a school. A school substitute system digitizes all paperwork for the schools.
What’s more, schools can now access all the substitutes-related information on an intuitive dashboard at the click of a button, instead of relying on complex spreadsheets.
The best part? Substitute management systems integrate into your payroll, H.R., and other school management systems to streamline the substitute management processes.
4. Improves Communication
By automating all the essential communications between the teachers, substitutes, and the school, sub-management systems reduce human errors. They get real-time alerts via email or on their phones, and never miss anything important.
5. Easy Absence Reporting and Scheduling
Substitute teacher software makes self-reporting of absences easy for the teachers. Teachers will be able to report from anywhere using their smartphones, thereby kicking off the process of arranging a substitute.
Schools can automate the process of shortlisting, contacting, and assigning the substitute to a job, or pick their favorite substitute.
If you automate the process, you can benefit even more. Think about it like this. A teacher catches a cold one late evening, and files for absence immediately.
By school start time in the morning, one of the substitute teachers has been automatically assigned for the job. It’s that simple.
6. Provides Real-time Reporting
Substitute teacher management software provide schools with real-time data on teacher absences, substitute availability, substitute jobs arranged, and other such activities, which allows them to make strategic decisions better.
7. Makes It Easy for Substitutes to Find Jobs
Schools can onboard substitute candidates onto their substitute teacher management software and manage them from one place. This way, substitutes can enroll themselves with different schools’ systems, and manage their work seamlessly. They can log in to their accounts, find available jobs, accept them, and do more.
Why should this matter to schools? Because 48% of the substitute teachers prioritize district culture over pay, a streamlined system shows to your substitute teachers that you care about them.
8. Easy Management of Availability and Work Schedule
A substitute teacher software can be a gamechanger for substitute teachers. They can update their real-time schedule with the schools to get job alerts for only those classes or days that they are available. This prevents potential miscommunications and ensures smooth scheduling of substitutes.
9. Reduce Administrator Workload
School administrators routinely manage numerous activities, such as absence recording, leave management, approvals, substitute scheduling, and more. All of these activities can be streamlined or even automated with automated substitute management software.
This frees up administrators to perform more mission-critical tasks. The subsequent reduction in workload translates to higher employee satisfaction for them. And, schools can operate with a smaller team of administrators, thereby minimizing their expense.
10. Directly Impacts Student Success
There is an increasing amount of research highlighting the importance of learning continuity on student success.
According to a study, a 10-day increase in teacher absence sets back students’ learning by 6-10 days in language arts, and a disconcerting 15-25 days in math.
An independent Duke University study has further corroborated the findings of this research.
With stakes this high, schools, parents, and society, in general, cannot afford to disrupt students’ education due to inevitable teacher absences. However, what schools can do is use an efficient substitute teacher management software to ensure that a substitute teacher immediately fills up every teacher absence, thereby ensuring learning continuity.
11. Eliminates Futile Calling of Occupied Substitutes
The number of substitute teachers in the country has witnessed a steady decline over the years. In the 3 years spanning 2014 to 2017, the number of substitute teachers dropped by about 10,000 across the U.S. Despite this, 10% of U.S. classrooms are led by substitute teachers today.
In short, substitute teachers are in high demand but low supply. So, when schools call up their choice of candidates to fill an absent teacher, the chances are that they’ll find most of them already occupied.
A sound school substitute system allows substitute teachers to update their calendar on the system. Thanks to this, the school administrators know when they are occupied and when they are free, and send them alerts accordingly.
12. Approve Leave Requests From Anywhere
The modern cloud-based substitute management systems make it possible for school administrators to access them from anywhere with a smart device.
All they need is a computer, a smartphone, or a tablet to access the system to manage it. For instance, they can check the leave requests from teachers and approve them from their devices.
It’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s the future.
13. Find Available Substitutes Effortlessly
One of the most underrated benefits of substitute teacher software is the ease of finding suitable substitutes.
Instead of having to run to the files in your drawer and sifting through them, you get a full list of substitute teachers at your fingertips. Just onboard them to your system once and access them anytime at the click of a button. That’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The school substitute systems also offer several nifty features. You can update the skills, preferences, and exclusion lists of the substitutes so that you hire them for only the classes that are best-suited for them. You can even filter the substitutes based on such characteristics to make your task of finding a substitute effortless.
14. Track and Manage Absences and Leave Balances Online
Want to get the latest data on teacher absences for today, tomorrow, or next week?
Need to review leave balances before approving a teacher’s absence?
You can do it all with feature-loaded substitute teacher software. They empower you with in-depth insights that can help you run your school better, with minimum disruption to your students’ learning continuity.
15. Let Employees View Leave Balances Online
Avoid unnecessary calls to H.R. by giving your employees complete information on their leave activity. Substitute management systems make it possible for your teachers to check out their leave balances and plan their absences accordingly.
This reduces the instances of frequent and avoidable calls to the administrators, improving the satisfaction of both teaching and non-teaching staff.
16. Get Insights and Visibility into Trends
Identify trends of high-absence days, so that you can avoid professional development activities, or make suitable plans in advance.
Most substitute teacher management software feature comprehensive dashboards and reporting capabilities that help you identify potential trends in absences. By anticipating them, you can make suitable arrangements to prevent disruptions to your students’ learning. You can also use this information to plan teacher-oriented programs to ensure that maximum teachers benefit from it.
17. Eliminates Manual Payroll Calculations
Payroll calculations for teachers take into account several factors, including their absences during the current period. Typically, school management systems have payroll modules to streamline this process. However, tracking and managing the absences of the teachers is often done manually. For this reason, the H.R. people are forced to collate information from multiple sources before processing payrolls.
A sophisticated substitute teacher management software integrates into your existing school management system and allows it to access all teacher absence data instantly. The substitute teachers’ pay are calculated automatically based on their respective leave data, thereby eliminating manual payroll calculations and saving H.R. teams several hours of productive time.
18. Automated Notifications
The days of calling up each of your substitute teachers to check their availability for a class are over. Just shortlist suitable candidates from your list of substitutes, and the automated substitute management software notifies them automatically. It will send emails, text messages, and push notification alerts with job details to them at the click of a button.
Those who are available for the job will take it up, thereby ensuring seamless assigning of the job in a matter of minutes.
19. Anytime, Anywhere Access
Teachers, substitutes, administrators, and other staff can easily access their accounts on the substitute teacher software from anywhere.
Most automated substitute management software vendors host their systems directly on a cloud server. Schools and their users can visit the URL to the cloud-hosted system and access their accounts. However, some vendors also allow schools to host their system on an on-premise server or a third-party cloud server.
Either way, their sub management system is easily accessible from any browser-compatible device, such as smartphone, tablet, or computer, anywhere in the world.
20. No Hardware Required
As discussed above, school substitute systems are hosted on remote servers. Therefore, schools are not required to invest in I.T. hardware to enjoy the benefits of this technology. If they purchase their system from a reputed vendor, they also get prompt and hassle-free technical support to ensure a smooth experience using the system.
21. Designed for Small K-12 Schools and School Districts
Substitute management systems like InstaSub are specially designed for institutions dedicated to secondary education and below. They are not overloaded with unnecessary features that confuse their users. They are lightweight, and fast and drastically improve the efficiency of the schools.
22. Outstanding ROI
Although substitute teachers have become vital for the effective functioning of schools across the country, schools have failed to utilize their full potential. It’s estimated that substitute teachers cover only 50% of the short-term absences.
The reasons for this are manifold. Firstly, when short-term absences are recorded, the schools do not have sufficient time to call and schedule a substitute. Secondly, even when they do, they are usually met with rejections as the substitutes are occupied with other commitments. Inevitably, schools are forced to combine classes or ask another less-than-ideal teacher to fill in.
A substitute management system’s self-reporting and automated notifications help schools to notify dozens, if not hundreds, of substitutes about the job quickly. They receive prompt responses and are more likely to find a positive response from a substitute teacher.
23. Broadcast Professional Development Opportunities
As the availability of substitute teachers continues to diminish, schools are compelled to invest in substitute teacher training and skills upgrading exercises to boost their effectiveness.
A school substitute system allows schools to send notifications and get quick feedback from substitutes in their database regarding suitable time, day, and other preferences to plan the training programs.
Such planning will ensure higher participation by the substitute teachers and better ensure the success of the program. Also, when the substitutes are better prepared for the job, they are more likely to accept the assignments as well.
24. Tailored Materials for Substitute Teachers
Once the substitutes are assigned their jobs, it’s crucial that they are brought to speed on their students’ progress. They must be provided with course materials and lesson plans that can help them prepare for their class, and ensure that the students’ learning does not skip a beat. All these materials must reach them quickly, especially when they are filling up for short-term absences.
A sub management system can make collating and sending such materials a simple one-click task.
25. Improve the Quality of Substitutes
Schools generally have a list of substitutes, along with their qualifications, work experiences, and preferences. However, it’s a herculean task to sift through all of that information to find the right substitute whenever there’s an absent teacher. In their hurry, the administrator may choose a substitute that is less than ideal for the students.
A powerful substitute management system helps the administrators filter substitutes based on their qualifications, among other factors, to quickly find the one that is best-suited for the job. As a result, the substitute teacher is happy because they are doing what they love and are great at. The students are happy because they get a truly knowledgeable replacement for the day.
26. Give Increased Control to Teachers
Teachers tend to have a better understanding of which substitute is better suited to replace them. This decision may be based on their students’ feedback on the substitute, their qualifications, or work experience. Modern school substitute systems allow teachers to assign, or at least show their preference for a substitute when they report themselves for an absence.
27. They are Highly Scalable
The new generation of substitute management systems like InstaSub is designed to be highly scalable. You can onboard as many teachers, substitute teachers, administrators, and other staff as you like.
In fact, InstaSub can be deployed not only for your school but also for your entire school district. You can manage substitutes for the whole district from a single app that’s accessible on the internet.
21st Century Sub Management Systems for 21st Century Education
Substitute teacher management software like InstaSub come with iOS and Android apps to make it easy for all users to access their accounts whenever they need to. This simplifies operations, reduces manual tasks, accelerates communication, and improves the productivity of all staff. The staff does more with less effort and time, while the school saves both time and resources, which translates into money savings.
Substitute management systems also ensure that the students do not encounter disruption to their learning continuity.
Learning must never stop, especially due to easily avoidable factors like mismanagement.
To learn more about the best substitute management software for small and medium-size schools and districts, and how InstaSub can transform your school in positive ways, request a demo.