Addressing Teacher Shortages: The Role of Substitute Teachers and Swing Education

Rachelle Dené Poth
4 min readOct 3, 2023

Over the past few years, teacher shortages have become a challenge in schools across the United States. There has been a shortage in filling full-time teaching positions as well as finding substitute teachers to fill in on a day-to-day basis. The shortages add to the pressure on all teachers as they take on additional responsibilities to cover classes and other duties. As a result, teachers lose time that can be spent working with students and also valuable planning time.

Earlier this year, I learned about Swing Education, which is a centralized platform that connects substitute teachers with schools and school districts. They serve as a recruiter of substitute teachers in support of school districts. Swing Education helps schools to streamline the process of hiring, expanding their pool of substitute teachers, easing payroll, and onboarding. Swing’s value for substitute teachers is that they have more jobs to choose from because Swing lists all the openings in their area. They also get paid each week (instead of each month) and becoming a sub is much faster because Swing helps with onboarding. I had the opportunity to speak with Mike Teng, Co-Founder of Swing Education, and enjoyed the conversation and also gained insight into how large of a problem schools in the United States are facing.

The teacher shortage is affecting schools in every state. According to a report by the nonprofit Learning Policy Institute, there is currently a shortage of approximately 314,000 teachers in the U.S. school system. That means they need subs, but when there aren’t enough, it negatively impacts the learning experience for students and can also lead to teacher burnout. Substitute teachers play a vital role in addressing teacher shortages. They can step in when full-time teachers are absent, ensuring that students receive consistent instruction. Furthermore, substitute teachers can also bring fresh perspectives and diverse experiences to the classroom, enriching students’ learning experiences. I have experienced this in my own classroom when I needed a substitute teacher.

Swing Education’s Initiative

Swing Education launched a campaign to recruit substitute teachers throughout California and in Texas, in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. These are the areas of biggest need at this exact moment for the Swing schools. However, schools all over the nation are facing a shortage, and substitute teachers are needed everywhere. Because Swing Education has a centralized platform, it is easier for schools to find and manage substitutes. The platform handles recruiting, onboarding, and payroll, giving schools more control over their substitute pool. Substitute teachers can find teaching assignments that fit their schedules and have the resources they need to be classroom-ready from day one.

The Benefits of Swing Education

The Swing Education platform offers numerous benefits, such as:

Streamlined Recruitment: Swing simplifies the recruitment process, making it easier for schools to find qualified substitutes quickly.

Improved Management: Schools can efficiently manage their substitute pool, ensuring they have adequate coverage for teacher vacancies.

Support for Substitutes: Substitutes have access to resources via the Swing Education site to help them get started.

Community Engagement: Swing encourages college students, prospective teachers, retirees, and others to sign up as substitutes, fostering community involvement.

Recruiting substitute teachers not only helps with immediate staffing needs but also helps to bring in opportunities for people who may not have considered teaching. There are substitute teachers that are college students, prospective teachers, or even retirees who decide to pursue teaching as a long-term career after having some experience in classrooms. By actively recruiting and supporting substitutes, schools can bring in prospective future educators and work toward eliminating or at least, reducing the teacher shortage crisis.

Swing Education’s initiative to recruit substitute teachers is a significant step toward addressing this challenge. By leveraging platforms like Swing, schools can ensure that classrooms are adequately staffed, and students continue to receive quality instruction. Furthermore, by the support offered for substitute teachers, schools can contribute to building a stronger and more sustainable teaching workforce for the future. Click here to learn how to become a sub. For schools and districts, click here to learn more about Swing.

About Rachelle

Follow Rachelle on Twitter @Rdene915 and on Instagram @Rdene915. Rachelle has a podcast, ThriveinEDU available at https://anchor.fm/rdene915.

Looking for PD for your school? I provide in-person and virtual training on the following topics. If you want to learn more about and explore AI and ChatGPT, contact me to schedule! Rdene915@gmail.com

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Originally published at http://rdene915.com on October 3, 2023.

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Rachelle Dené Poth

I am a Spanish and STEAM Emerging Tech Teacher, Attorney, Author and Blogger, Learning Enthusiast and EdTech Consultant