More than 200 teaching staff in Birmingham have been off work ill for longer than three months - a higher rate of long-term sickness than in the region's police force.
Teaching unions last night blamed the stress of working in a modern classroom with pupils behaviour getting worse.
A total of 210 teachers and support staff have been signed off work for 14 weeks or more in Birmingham, the period the authority classes as long-term sick.
The amount is equal to 0.8 per cent of the city's 24,000-strong school workforce. In contrast, there are currently 93 police workers absent for 14 weeks or more according to West Midlands Police.
Out of a workforce of 12,500, that is equal to just under 0.75 per cent of staff.
Long-term absence figures from Birmingham's education authority show 84 teachers out of 9,688 have been signed off work ill for more than 14 weeks. The other 126 long-term absent are made up of school support staff.
More than a quarter of the total state stress, anxiety or depression as their reason for sickness.
But the National Union of Teachers claimed stress-related illness was likely to form a much bigger proportion.
Nigel Baker, deputy general secretary of the Birmingham NUT branch, said: "Very often it is not recorded as stress because people don't like it to be recorded that way.
"A big chunk of my job is talking to people who are long-term sick and giving them help and advice.
"Almost certainly it is going to be a higher proportion with stress."
Last year the Department for Education and Skills revealed teachers in the West Midlands took 335,000 sick days in 2003 at a cost of #49 million.
A total of 64 per cent of full-time teachers needed time off, taking an average of 9.7 days each.
Mr Baker claimed the figures exploded the myth of teaching as an easy profession with long holidays.
"The average teacher is arriving at 8am and leaving at 5pm or later. Then going on to do one hour every evening and more during the weekend. Then there is the stress of being in front of children all day every day.
"That brings huge demands with a class of 30, particularly while behaviour is getting increasingly challenging."
Birmingham Council claimed long-term absence was not a problem within city schools.
"We are still on target to be below the council target of nine days per full-time equivalent," a spokeswoman said.
Police also defended staff attendance in the region.
"West Midlands Police attendance is running at nearly 97 per cent, recognised as one of best performance figures in the police service," said a spokeswoman.