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Calculating the Real Cost of Teacher Absences

Calculating the Real Cost of Teacher Absences

Making it work ... but at what cost?

When a teacher is absent, it has a ripple effect on the school. That effect is magnified when administrators cannot procure substitute teachers. Absences cost schools - not only in dollars, but in time, energy, morale, and academic momentum. In cases of unplanned or last-minute callouts, fellow teachers often must fill the vacancy. The costs of colleagues covering for one another are numerous: they have less time to plan, grade, meet with parents, and recharge. 

Covering for colleagues when substitutes cannot be found adds to the already hefty responsibilities that lead to teacher burnout. In the United States, K-12 workers have the highest burnout level of all industries nationally, and the burnout gap between K-12 workers and all other workers has increased significantly. Preventing burnout is a formidable task for school leadership. Having a sufficient supply of quality substitute teachers is one remedy. 


Time, Energy, Morale, Momentum 

Of course, principals and assistant principals can also cover classes, but at what cost? When administrators have to cover a class (or several), they are not performing their myriad of other responsibilities. If there is a discipline issue in the school and the school leaders cannot address it promptly, it can disrupt multiple classes and affect other teachers and students. Office staff also feel the impact when administrators are unavailable, as they may have to handle parent, teacher, and student concerns. 

School leaders are keenly aware of the positive impact competent substitute teachers have on schools. In the wake of the pandemic, that impact has intensified. When (not if), academic achievement suffers due to an inadequate supply of substitute teachers, it’s the students who pay the price. 


Proactive Absence Management

For charter and private schools, if the aforementioned ripple effect turns into a wave, it can lead to parents deciding to pull their students and their support from the school. For these reasons and more, school leaders must be proactive rather than reactive in sourcing quality substitute teachers. 

Choosing to work with a substitute teacher staffing agency – an agency specifically geared for the educational sector and dedicated to pairing competent, reliable, well-trained substitute teachers – ensures you will have the staffing coverage you need when you need it. 

Learn more about the benefits of proactive absence management at Sub Teacher Source!  

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