Unheard plight of the hoarse whisperers

19th November 2010 at 00:00

In response to news reports that a teacher has won #163;150,000 for straining her voice, when will educational managers realise that voice problems in teaching are neither acceptable nor inevitable?

Joyce Walters, the English teacher involved in the case, may have won a superficially generous compensation but unfortunately is now unable to work.

Having previously been diagnosed with vocal chord nodules myself - with support from my school, I lived to teach another day - I am convinced that the damage being done to teachers' voices is unnecessary.

Unfortunately a culture exists within the teaching profession where sore throats, hoarseness, laryngitis and other voice-related problems are regarded as acceptable occupational hazards. These things, if chronic, are not acceptable and in fact are often avoidable.

The case highlights the ignorance that still surrounds voice abuse in teaching - a profession in which we are required to deliver potentially four to five presentations every day, to audiences who haven't volunteered or paid to be there.

Fergus Elder, Teacher, Greater Manchester.

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