Stressed teachers dial for support

22nd December 2006 at 00:00
Primary teachers worry about their relationships with pupils and colleagues, while secondary teachers are more concerned about workload, performance and pay, according to the Teacher Support Network.

The phone and online support service has released details of the 1,398 calls it received this year: 26 per cent from primary teachers, 37 per cent from secondary staff.

A fifth of all primary calls concerned work-based relationships. Some teachers expressed concern about behaviour-management and classroom control.

But almost five times as many were worried about relationships with other teachers, including bullying and harassment in the staffroom.

Sarah, 33, was among them. She called the network complaining of panic attacks, which came on after repeated bullying by a hyper-critical head at her Kent primary. On the network's advice, she will be contacting her union as well as getting help for stress.

A fifth of the secondary teachers who called were similarly worried about school-based relationships. But 29 per cent, the highest proportion of secondary calls, were about conditions such as workload, pay and performance.

Caroline, a 45-year-old secondary teacher, called the network because she felt that she was overwhelmed by the demands of work and that this was adversely affecting her family life. With a coach, she discussed time-management strategies, and began to focus on her strengths.

Others spoke about emotional or physical problems, such as stress, depression or chronic illness. Alternatively, they discussed problems in their personal lives, such as their marriage, bereavement or money problems.

* www.teachersupport.info

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