From 1998 to 2004, teacher Peter Doulis, 47, of West Yarraville, worked at Werribee Secondary College.
Mr Doulis claims he was intentionally allocated classes of Werribee Secondary College's ''most unruly and challenging'' students.
In 2013 Mr Doulis sued the Victorian government for negligence and failing to provide a safe workplace.
Representing Mr Doulis on the first day of the Supreme Court trial, John Richards, SC, http://www.vicbar.com.au/profile?1489 said his once active and capable client was now a ''shell of a man'' who was unlikely to work again.
The court heard the students at Werribee Secondary College were divided up into five streams - accelerated, high achievers, medium achievers, low achievers and foundation classes.
Mr Richards said while some teachers only taught bright students, Mr Doulis was assigned an unfair proportion of the worst achieving pupils of the year, including those with learning and behavioural difficulties.
He said those teachers who were allocated the worst classes were the ones who had got on the ''wrong side'' of the assistant principal in charge with managing the class timetable.
The jury was told Mr Doulis approached school leaders a number of times complaining that he was stressed and asked for fewer difficult classes, but his pleas fell on ''deaf ears''.
''He remembers being absolutely devastated when he saw that he was going to face those classes again.
''In the first time in his life he had thoughts of suicide,'' Mr Richards said.
The court was told of an incident where Mr Doulis was threatened by a student, who told him he was going to "get him" and made the sign of slitting his throat with his finger.
Mr Doulis says he suffered a major psychological breakdown after this incident.
Mr Doulis also recalls being told, along with his students, to clean a dirty classroom following an asbestos fire.
He said the classroom had broken windows and asbestos warnings were still visible.
Mr Richards said his client was in a ''seriously suicidal'' state after quitting his job at Werribee.
He said a psychologist had diagnosed his client with a major depressive illness as a result of overwork and the father-of-two has shown signs of post-traumatic stress and agoraphobia (anxiety leaving the house).
Claims for past loss of earnings are estimated by Mr Doulis' legal team to be about $440,000, while he could be eligible for more than $1 million in future lost wages and superannuation.
Mr Doulis claims to have suffered further break downs when he attempted to return to work at different high schools as a teacher.
42 witnesses will be called, including psychiatrists, GPs, and western suburbs principals and teachers.
The trial is expected to last four weeks.
Teacher sues over difficult students, Nick Toscano, Aisha Dow, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 October 2013
Werribee teacher sues over ‘unruly’ classes , Staff Reporter, Wyndham Weekly, 9 October 2013