Compare Systems as a Teacher


The biggest issue to consider though, is the type of scheduling method, not the technology used to support it. Batch processing or book specific times?


Teacher schedule negotiation
Some PTN systems require teachers to be involved in schedule negotiation of times. This means valuable school teaching time is taken negotiating interview schedules with students.

Teacher booking control
Basic PTN booking systems where parents simply book specific times over the web cause significant time waste for teachers, who are then required to attend the entire duration of the event. One key reason staff dislike moving away from the traditional paper booking system where students approach them directly, is that they had a high degree of control in the process, in order to ensure they have an efficient teacher schedule. They would discourage or adjust any outlying interviews so they are booked closer together to allow an earlier departure from the event (especially if they have few interviews booked), or have suitable breaks during the event instead of parents booking them solidly for all slots.

Batch processed schedules similarly do not have strong teacher control over bookings (apart from their own availability, or requested interviews), but the need for this control is entirely removed as the system itself manages the needs of teachers extremely well, and certainly much better overall than teachers could do themselves. Numerous reports from teachers who have been scheduled automatically by EdvalPTN are extremely positive about the quality of their schedule. Systems which are solely parent led (making bookings to specific times manually over the web) have no control, and no management of the quality of the teacher’s schedule. This may leads to discontent in staff at times over the loss of control in a new booking system, unless the new system can actually provide them with a better quality schedule than they would have done if they were involved in the process directly or manually.

Teacher requested interviews
Not all systems provide opportunity for teachers to place interview booking requests. EdvalPTN allows teachers to do this in a simple, subtle manner, which encourages the prioritising of the interviews without overly alarming parents.

Teacher breaks
Some PTN systems can only manage designated teacher breaks such as meal breaks. EdvalPTN manages teacher breaks in many ways, including scattered breaks through the event, as teacher breaks, but also to ensure on-time schedule running. These dynamically assigned breaks greatly improve the quality of the solution for teachers.

Teachers view missed interviews
Not all systems provide teachers with visibility of which parents missed out on seeing them, together with the level of parental interest. This is because the book specific time approach means there is no way of capturing the desire of the parent for the interview as it is either booked or not.

EdvalPTN parent interview priority means teachers now have access to this highly valuable information, and can prioritise follow up calls with parents who may have missed out on seeing them for any reason.

Teachers view no-requests
Not all PTN systems provide teachers with visibility for which parents are not coming to the event at all. EdvalPTN shows this clearly, so staff can identify the level of parental interest in their children’s education performance. The number of other interviews attended by the parent is also shown, so failure to book with this teacher may not be lack of interest or attendance at the event, so much as this teacher or subject was not a priority for that parent.

Teachers view parent interview priority
Teacher’s schedules include the level of parent interest in each interview. This is helpful in responding to parents about concerns.

Teacher early marks
PTN systems which have parents booking specific times will instantly require all teachers to be available for the entire duration of the event, as any parent can book the first or last interview slot with the teacher. This is one where the old paper system allowed some flexibility, as teachers could be involved in ‘discouraging’ late interviews where they had to wait a long time for the last one or two interviews.

EdvalPTN manages teacher early marks very differently, as the event is automatically scheduled for best fit. Teachers with few interviews requested will generally have these all nearly sequentially scheduled at the start of the night. The majority of teachers are then able to get an early mark from the event.

The level of teacher early mark afforded by EdvalPTN can be significant, such as thirty hours in total across all staff, while also having many more interviews scheduled than other systems.

Randomised teacher sequence
Many PTN systems provide lists of teachers sorted alphabetically. This strongly biases teachers so those closer to ‘A’ tend to be booked out more heavily than ‘Z’. EdvalPTN randomises the sort order of teachers for each parent, so they do not cause any bias in booking interviews – either as preferences based requests, or specific time based bookings.

Teacher time waste
PTN systems which allow parents to book specific times will often cause teacher schedules to be skewed and be a much longer duration than otherwise needed. EdvalPTN dramatically reduces teacher time waste by collapsing teacher schedules where possible. This provides late arrival at the event, early departures, or otherwise ensures efficient teacher schedules with little time waste.

Teacher rooms & areas
Not all PTN systems manage the room allocation, and grouping of teachers for efficient event administration, and reduction in parent movement due to multiple interview opportunities per room. EdvalPTN has multiple rooming features, including grouping rooms into areas (buildings or floors), so parent movement can be reduced.

The traditional approach of grouping teachers by faculty maximises or forces parents to move every single interview, so is highly inefficient compared to intelligently grouping staff to allow parents to have multiple sequential interviews in the one room / group or area.