Some teachers in Northern Ireland have been treated like medieval serfs through lack of consultation and training, a teaching union has claimed.
Professional support was lacking and staff overstretched because of redundancies, NASUWT's annual conference in Belfast heard.
Despite this, many staff felt unable to scale back on the number of activities offered, said Northern Ireland president John Devlin.
"Teachers must have a right to be able to access training, to have some control over their own continuing professional development and be given fair access to any training opportunity offered by a school," he said.
"They should not be treated like some 'medieval serf subservient to the Lord of the Manor'."
This year is the 50th anniversary of the NASUWT in Northern Ireland, the largest teaching union, and the conference is being held at Stormont. Delegates have already heard from Education Minister John O'Dowd and other experts.
Mr Devlin said he was alarmed at how some teachers had been treated, adding: "Probably the biggest issue revolves around poor communication and lack of consultation. This leads to teachers feeling undervalued and to a feeling of unhappiness."
He said continuous professional development was vitally important, and that "we as a union have a real concern around the lack of professional support that teachers receive."
He said it was becoming more difficult to cover rotas.
Today delegates will debate motions on issues affecting the teaching profession and education, including assessment in schools, pay and pensions, school inspection, malicious allegations, employment practices and special educational needs.