Teacher gets voice damage payout
A teacher who suffered permanent damage after being forced to raise her voice to be heard in class has been awarded a six-figure payout.
English teacher Joyce Walters developed nodules on her vocal chords which she said were caused by having to speak loudly over noise outside her classroom at Harlington Adult Education Centre, in Hillingdon, north west London.
After the nodules were discovered through surgery, Mrs Walters underwent months of speech therapy, but said she can still only speak for a short period before her throat becomes sore and her voice becomes hoarse.
The 50-year-old mother-of-two has received more than £150,000 through two out of court settlements agreed with her employers, Hillingdon Council.
It is thought to be one of the biggest payouts received by a teacher.
Mrs Walters said: "Teaching was my calling, I adored the classroom and miss it so much, but the problems with my voice make it impossible for me to ever go back.
"I even have to think twice about day-to-day things, like speaking on the phone to my dad in Scotland as my voice is not strong enough to maintain a conversation for any length of time."
Mrs Walters started working at the adult education centre, which is housed in Harlington Community School and run by Hillingdon Council, in 2005 teaching English to foreign students.
Mrs Walters said within a month she had symptoms of a sore throat, which got progressively worse. She was given a classroom next to a courtyard used by schoolchildren during playtimes.
She said that, as a result of the noise and disruption, she often had to repeat herself and raise her voice. This was made worse by the fact that, as many of her students were beginners, clarity of pronunciation was vital and due to the noise students often had to ask her to repeat herself.