The impact teacher absenteeism has on student achievement, not to mention the monetary impact on the school, is obvious and apparent. According to one study, “These patterns of teacher stress are related to students’ success in school, both academically and behaviorally” adding that, “classrooms with highly stressed teachers have more instances of disruptive behaviors and lower levels of prosocial behavior.”(Barberio, 2018). It is very clear that if you disrupt that continuity for any long period time, there is truly a disruption in learning and student achievement.
When these absences are repetitive the research is clear and shows a negative impact on achievement overall for students. Additionally when focusing on the ever increasing emphasis on standardized test scores one study shows that “the relationship between teacher absences and the standardized test scores was negative” (Algozzine, B. et al., 2012).
Schools have often been slow to recognize this verified data and therefore policy for teacher attendance has been slow to adapt as well. As one district employee in charge of Human Resources at Guilford County Schools in North Carolina state, “Hearing such news was like getting hit by a two by four” (Spegman, 2016). Another Human Resources employee in a Pheonix, Arizona district added “Previously, principals had not regularly reviewed absence data and their budgets. The data was quite surprising and very revealing for many of them” (Jackson, 2018).
Some districts are surprised to see just how much on an impact teacher absenteeism has on student learning. This would be compounded for those students who are considered at risk, where they would most likely be affected even more by having a revolving door of educators in their class oftentimes when what many of those students need is stability. One Education Dive articles also says that the National Bureau of Economic Research concludes that the effects of a excessive teacher absenteeism is like comparing the impact of a first-year teacher and a teacher with at least three years experience (Harper, 2018). That is a dramatic difference in experience and effectiveness and will undoubtedly impact student achievement.
An article about low cost teacher incentives from the Times Herald in Port Huron, Michigan states “Teachers who miss a lot of school days interrupt class routines, relationship building and class discussions, and substitutes aren’t always experts in the subjects students are learning” (Turner, 2017). There must be a focus on improving teachers absences throughout the school districts of the nation. Having a substitute replace a teacher excessively in the classroom is a disservice to students, parents, the school, the district and other key stakeholders concerned with the education of the youth in our society. As the Times Herald article adds, “building relationships between teachers and parents and parents are more willing to ask for help or discuss concerns about their students (Turner, 2017). Even the impact on key stakeholders involved in education is real and evident.
The research is clear and concise: teacher absenteeism impacts the classrooms around the nation in numerous ways and ultimately negatively impacts student achievement. There must be an improvement in the teacher attendance rate across the nation. Therefore it is important to determine how districts use incentives, what are some incentives that work as well as some that do not work and what other impacts could districts have on the improvement of teacher attendance?