A successful school is dependent on administrators selecting qualified teachers to join their ranks, teachers who will raise student achievement levels and consistently perform at his/her best. However, every year hundreds of teachers leave the profession, putting school administrators in a predicament, as recruiting qualified teachers consumes additional resources.
According to research conducted on teacher attrition, the overwhelming reason for teachers exiting the profession is the size of the workload. It is estimated that almost 70% of teachers leave the profession on account of workload concerns. This workload is not only due to regular classroom responsibilities, but also due to additional administrative tasks, with 75% of teachers reporting that these tasks are making them unhappy. With soaring teacher attrition rates, administrators have to resort to using "band-aid" strategies as a temporary fix for structural staffing issues. Often school administrators end up increasing class sizes, inadvertently adding to the workload of those teachers that are still in the classroom.
All is not lost as administrators have the ability to correct this trend by minimizing repetitive and duplicative tasks, which quite often can be accomplished through the use of more technology in schools. A trusted electronic signature platform represents one such way in which they can do this at very minimal additional cost.
With the use of a reliable electronic signature platform such as DocEndorse, form filling becomes significantly easier for all parties involved. For instance, one of the paperwork that teachers fill in regularly is the leave of absence form. In most schools today, the teacher would have to pick up the form from an administrator, fill out the form during an unassigned time, then take the form in-person to his/her supervisor for he/she to sign, after which, the teacher takes the document to another senior member of staff for a final signature. In some cases, additional persons may need to sign the same document.
Using the right electronic signature partner, the entire workflow can be simplified, thereby reducing the workload that the teacher faces. For example, the teacher could request the leave of absence form from reception or the relevant administrator by email. The administrator in turn adds all the parties who need to view or sign the document. The administrator can also set the order in which the document is to be viewed, and assign roles to the process (such as read-only, approver, signer) so that each respective party can only alter his/her area. As the respective parties to the document workflow fill his/her section, all parties will be updated by email or text message if desired. Furthermore, the administrator can create a template of the leave of absence form, which would save him/her the time needed to redo the process each time the form is requested.
While this is just one example, several other forms can be digitized including but not limited to performance management review (PMR), the record of concern, and other forms that may be bespoke to a school. No longer would the school need to print these forms in bulk, and no longer would the teacher need to add to his/her step count by walking to and from these offices. This helps to reduce the stress of these administrative tasks, and it saves the school money by reducing the amount of paper and ink that they have to purchase.
Over the years, more people have been rethinking their approach to the environment and are creating ways in which they can lessen their negative impact and that of their organization on the environment. At the conclusion of COP26, the voices of people who are pushing for immediate action have become louder. By going paperless, schools will be lending their support to the government's cause, while providing a good example for their own students to follow.
Another very important value-add that electronic signature platforms, such as ours, bring to schools is the ability to cut the amount of effort it takes to obtain signatures from many people at once. Administrators can use electronic signature platforms to communicate with parents, guardians, and carers, who may oftentimes number above 700 depending on the size of the school. During registration week, for example, school administrators must collect data about each child that enters the school, including his/her address, allergies, and parent’s contact information. Usually, the school would have to print hundreds of forms for each parent to fill and sign, which the parent would need to return within a stipulated period. A good electronic signature platform, allows a member of the school to create a template of the admission document, highlight the necessary areas that the parent needs to fill, and share it with parents when requested.
Permission slips - a document that a parent, guardian, or carer signs permitting a child/ward to attend an event or do some activity- are often a headache to manage. It involves printing a form and sending the form home with a child for the child's parent to fill and return to the school. With a bulk sign signature workflow, the entire process can be managed more effectively with less hassle. Rather than printing a hundred permission slips, handing them to each child, and hoping that the parent receives them, a school administrator could automate the entire process and monitor the responses as they come in. This is done easily by using the data on each parent's email address, name, and telephone that the school already has stored digitally, loading up one of our templates, and sending all 100 signature requests in bulk. As each parent fills and signs these documents electronically, administrators can check to see which parents still have outstanding documents and follow up with an automatic reminder if desired. It is clear, that having this tool can significantly reduce the paperwork that the school has to process while eliminating the possibility of human error or a document being misplaced.
In the two unusual years that we have had, schools have had to change the way they onboard new teachers and other staff members. School administrators have been interviewing potential candidates online via video conferencing applications as opposed to the usual method of in-person. With the threat of another COVID-19 variant on the 'loose', it is unclear when schools will return to normal. In light of this fact, schools should evolve their digital strategy to include the use of electronic signatures. Through a partnership with a trusted electronic signature company, the school can secure top-quality employees for various positions, without the need for the person to come into the institution to sign these documents in 'wet ink'.
Through the use of an electronic signature platform such DocEndorse, schools can take a number of initiatives to improve productivity and reduce the amount of paperwork that teachers have to handle. The benefits of doing this are many and extend beyond just the early cost savings that will certainly accrue. For one, this solution is a "low hanging fruit" that will make teachers' lives easier, which in turn can increase teacher retention rates. In addition, these platforms provide the tools needed to track and maintain accountability not just for the teachers on staff, but also for the parents who must play an active role in their child's learning. Even more important is the wiggle room that it provides for the school administration to focus on what they do best.