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Friday, 2 April, 1999, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Stressed-out teachers demand action
Pam Ryan
Pam Ryan took early retirement last December
By Gary Eason in Harrogate

A teacher has told a union conference how stress brought an end to her career after 35 years in the classroom.

Unions 99
Pam Ryan, from Staffordshire, told the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' assembly in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, that she had become a teacher because she wanted to help children to learn.

"I have greatly enjoyed that time in teaching. It has been an honour to see children grow," she said.

Sue Ayers
Sue Ayers: "I'm not whinging, I love my job, but I do need more time"
"That's been the job satisfaction - but in the past five or 10 years that satisfaction has grown less and less as the paperwork has grown.

"The feeling of trying to juggle family and job commitments and the feeling of failing - I have failed to manage my time to do justice to each."

Two years ago she had a suspected heart attack which turned out to be a stress-related condition. She returned to her job, but a year later had a breakdown.

"After 35 years of being a teacher I felt I had to give up: my life was worth more than my job," she told the assembly.

Delegates passed a number of resolutions calling attention to the workload teachers suffer, and demanding more time away from the classroom in order to cope with the volume of paperwork.

One said the government's attempt to reduce bureaucracy had been "as effective as King Canute". It urged the union's leaders "to take strong action, which may include balloting members on industrial action" to stem the tide.

See also:

27 Jan 99 | UK Education
16 Mar 99 | UK Education
01 Feb 99 | UK Education
19 Mar 99 | UK Education
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