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Substitute Teaching: There's an App for That!

Learn how the Senya app is leading innovation for substitutes and schools.
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Gone Are the Old Ways

It's 5:00 AM, and the secretary or principal of a school begins looking through emails and text messages, and perhaps, calling into the school voicemail. What is so important at 5:00 AM? Finding out about the day's unplanned staff absences.

If the school is partnered with a company, jobs can get posted on their substitute teaching software, but it's unlikely that anyone from the pool of company subs is getting on to browse jobs at this time in the morning.

Around 6:00 AM, the frantic search for coverage begins. There is a list of people who sub at the school frequently, so the messaging begins. It is a time-consuming process, and it may or may not work.

If a substitute can't come, teachers will be asked to give up their preparation time to cover a block of the class time, or, an aide will be pulled from supporting students to cover the class.

Even when teachers give advance notice of planned absences, there aren't always enough substitutes to provide coverage. This is what schools are facing throughout the year and why innovation is desperately needed.

Typical Substitute Teacher Software

It is very common now for schools to use some kind of substitute teacher software, but most of these are primarily absence management systems, where staff schedule absences and administrators approve their leave. The substitute jobs become visible to a limited pool of substitutes––those that are working directly for the district or a contracted company.

The amount of substitutes in the pool depends largely on chance: Districts or companies recruit in a traditional way, posting substitute teacher positions at the start of the school year and hoping that they get a good response of applicants. These positions usually stay posted throughout the school year because there are never enough applicants to meet school needs!

With traditional recruiting and the growing shortage of substitute teachers in the United States, these schools are left with a fancy (and expensive) absence management system but low rates of actual substitute coverage.

Enter Senya

What makes Senya different than other substitute teaching software? Senya was built with a focus on new approaches to recruit and retain substitute teachers. If schools aren't able to actually get coverage for staff absences, what are they paying for? And if willing, passionate community members have to go through a long and burdensome process to enter substitute teaching, it's no wonder the system is struggling!

Senya recognized the untapped, extraordinary talent within communities––individuals all around schools who can help fill substitute teaching jobs. Senya created a substitute teaching app to allow people to easily step into the world of subbing as freelance workers, where they have the flexibility to support schools in addition to their other work and life commitments.

To accomplish this, Senya guides freelance workers to meet state requirements, using a simple onboarding flow to walk candidates through step by step.

The design of the app, and every new feature Senya develops, works to enhance the experience of both the substitutes and the schools. Every day, team members focus on the question, "How can we do better to get amazing people into amazing classrooms?"

Senya actively recruits so that there is always a large, active pool of freelance substitutes; meanwhile, school partnerships continue to grow so that substitutes have a wide variety of opportunities to support classrooms.

The unique settings, filters, and notification system make it easy for subs to tailor the app to work with any schedule. And as schools and substitutes build relationships, the "favorite" feature allows schools to work with preferred subs and subs to work at preferred schools.

The prized jewel––the secret sauce––of the Senya app is rewarding substitutes with bonus pay. Substitutes are eligible for bonus money by maintaining a high rating from schools, with bonus percentages kicking in based on working more days of the month:

  • After 5 jobs, every job for the remainder of the month and the following month = extra 10% pay.
  • After 10 jobs, every job for the remainder of the month and the following month = extra 18% pay.
  • After 15 jobs, every job for the remainder of the month and the following month = extra 25% pay.

Senya also has a system to award bonus money for those hard-to-fill, last-minute jobs that schools face so often, another way to help both schools and substitutes achieve a good solution to the most challenging circumstances.

So what makes Senya different than other substitute teaching software? Senya values community talent by recruiting freelance workers, makes substitute teaching accessible, offers significant bonus pay increases, and gets schools actual substitute coverage.

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