Creating and maintaining a substitute teacher pool can be a challenge, especially if it is not your full-time job. The need for substitutes or guest teachers is a fact of life and having the available teachers to fill those vacancies can be the difference between a smooth school day and a stressful one. Essentially you have two options for how to do this.
Options for building and maintaining a pool of guest teachers
1. Build and manage a pool of teachers yourself
2. Outsource to a substitute provider
Costs to consider
The biggest advantage to building your own pool is the potential cost savings. Generally, you’ll pay a substitute provider the same rate you’d pay directly to the sub, let’s say $120 per day, plus FICA and workers comp insurance, plus the margin that the sub provider will charge for their service. In some states, you could classify the teacher as a 1099 contractor to save money on the employer tax contribution, but you will want to increase your daily rate to remain competitive.
Other costs to keep in mind:
- Advertising to collect the applications needed to build the candidate pool
- Criminal background checking for each teacher
- Payroll processing fees
- Increases in your workers compensation insurance premiums
- Software to manage your sub pool
- Labor costs for managing and building your pool
These are all expenses that you can expect to be covered by a substitute provider.
Building a pool of teachers
If a school has their own private pool of subs, it usually consists of just a few teachers that they use regularly. This can be nice because you get familiar with these teachers and they get familiar with your school. The challenge is that sometimes none of these teachers will be available or you will have more vacancies to fill than your pool can accommodate.
A substitute provider will maintain a very large pool to ensure adequate coverage for all their schools. Teaching Nomad still provides schools with the option to prioritize candidates they have had at their school in the past, but if none of them are available, you can still count on filling that vacancy.
Managing the pool of teachers
It is 5am and someone just called in sick, what is your next move? If you are managing your own pool and not using any software, then you are likely picking up the phone and going down the list to see who is available. If you are using a provider like Teaching Nomad, you fill in the sub request form (from your phone while laying in bed), and you are done.
If your need is for long-term cover, 3-4 months to cover maternity leave for example, ask the sub provider if you can pre-screen and select the candidate you want for the role. This is something Teaching Nomad will provide to ensure that you get exactly what you need from our service.
You can also procure a software solution to manage your own pool. You can expect to pay a monthly or annual fee for this though. Most are relatively easy to use, but be sure to train your subs so that timesheets are submitted promptly and hours can be approved before payday.
Which solution is best?
Not every solution is right for every school, but if you have tried managing your own pool and did not like how it went, consider starting a trial with a substitute provider to see if it’s right for you.
Teaching Nomad provides permanent and substitute teacher recruitment and management for select markets across the U.S. and internationally. Learn more about our substitute recruitment services.