This is the first time I have written but after reading posts about the excessive hours teachers are working, I felt the urge to comment. Last year I was granted ill-health retirement after a 25 year career that included various middle management positions such as Head of Geography. The free time I have had since has inevitably led to me to look back over my teaching career and on reflection I can now appreciate the damage those long hours did to my life and to those of my family. I will never be able to get back those evenings and weekends that I could have spent with my wife and children and this is something I will regret to my dying day. Please don’t sacrifice your family like I did! In 2008, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a particularly pernicious condition, and in 2010 went through very difficult spinal fusion operations . During that period my school changed – a new head was appointed and a new modus operandi evolved. Long hours became an expectation rather than a choice and a culture of infighting and paranoia developed. At this time I was bullied by one of my own department who didn't understand why I was in and out of hospital rather than writing the schemes of work and resources I had produced in previous years. She would scream demands at department meetings that I couldn't possibly satisfy and even on one occasion threw a chair. Matters became worse when the arthritis in my fingers worsened to make typing let alone writing a painful slog (this has taken me ages). Ulcerative colitis is something one tries to keep a secret and not talk about. The disabled toilet next to my classroom became my office! The stress of the extra work demands and the bullying exacerbated my colitis and I developed clinical depression. After this bullying colleague left in 2012, I put everything into my job, and was praised by the Head but by that time my illnesses had caught up with me and I left last year. When I finished, I was working over 80 hours a week. I have written this post partly I must confess for cathartic reasons but largely because I believe in future years many teachers on this board will be looking back with similar regrets to mine. If it takes leaving this profession to have a life then you must do so. Please believe me it is not worth the hours and stress no matter how pleasurable teaching can be. Ironically, my wife works in my old school but not as a teacher. Over the past year she has witnessed many teachers go under and ultimately leave under their own volition or they have been forced out. What is happening in many (not all) schools is insane. PLEASE DON`T MAKE MY MISTAKE. PUT YOURSELF AND MORE IMPORTANTLY YOUR FAMILY FIRST.