Teacher Absenteeism



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study is to analyze selected factors that affect the absenteeism of secondary public school teachers. The literature suggests several possible variables are related to absenteeism. The most prominent variables identified were demographic factors, job satisfaction, and organizational climate. Teacher absenteeism is an important financial and educational issue for districts as it potentially impacts financial conditions, work place morale, student truancy, and student achievement (Bowers, 2001; Rosenblatt & Shirom, 2004; Woods & Montagno, 1997). The three research questions to be examined are: Question I. What are the characteristics of why teachers are absent? Question II. What are the study district’s financial costs associated with teacher absenteeism? Question III. What are the differences in teacher absenteeism by core content areas (English, math, science, and social studies) taught at the high school level (9-12)?

The sample for this study was high school teachers in grades nine through twelve in large suburban southwestern school district in the Houston area. There are eleven high schools with 1,414 full-time teachers employed. The research design used a of Likert scale on-line survey ”Teacher Absenteeism” from the participants and archival data from the study district. The survey data uses descriptive statistics.

Additionally, archival data from the study district determined expenditures for hiring substitutes, training of substitutes, and staff to support substitutes and financial implications for school districts budgets. In the 2009-2010 school year the cost of substitutes in the study district cost was $4,300,000. The administrative cost each year starting with 2008, 2009, and ending in 2010, averages $158,000 per year with an average administrative cost per campus of $2,164 each school year.

The study school district was asked to provide teacher archival attendance data for the entire district as well as by grade level (9–12) in English, math, science, and social studies for comparisons. The study explored district wide teacher absences by month and by year, and compared the results to the years preceding and the following school years. The study high schools days of absence (n = 4,231) for 2010 compared to the study district’s days of absence (n = 39,552.5) accounts for 11% of the number of days teachers took in the year. The study high schools in 2010 reduced their days of absence (n = 4231) by 64% from 2009 (n = 11,796). The change may be associated with the a Reduction in Force that occurred in 2010.The district implemented an attendance policy each employee signed two weeks before the end of the school year displaying the numbers of absence. The results for the study show February, April, May, October, and November as having the highest number of teacher absences for the years of 2008-2010.

The examination into the perceptions of teachers has important educational implications for all teachers and educational leaders. The study advances our understandings of the financial implications teacher absenteeism places, on budgets, and resources. The findings provide insight into the extent that money spent on substitutes could be placed back into classrooms or add teaching positions in schools. The study advances our knowledge and understandings of teacher absenteeism by core subject areas English, math, science, and social studies) in the high school (9-12) and its potential for determining patterns of absenteeism by departmental core content areas.


Bowers, T. (2001). Teacher Absenteeism and Ill Health Retirement: a review. Cambridge Journal of Education, 31(2), 135-157.

Rosenblatt, Z., & Shirom, A. (2004). Predicating teacher absenteeism by personal background factors. Journal of Educational Administration, 43(2), 209-225.

Woods, R. C., & Montagno, R. V. (1997). Determining the Negative Effect of Teacher attendance on student achievement. Education 118, 307-316.



Teacher absenteeism, High school teachers, Teacher financial cost