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Teaching voted one of the most respected careers in Britain

New Teach First research reveals that teaching is considered one of the most respected careers in Britain, alongside doctors. 

  • Four in ten (42%) people in Britain have voted teaching as one of the most respected careers. 
  • Over a third (36%) of Brits have thought about becoming a teacher themselves. 
  • Matilda’s Miss Honey voted Britain’s favourite fictional teacher.

Teaching has been voted one of the most respected careers in Britain, according to education charity, Teach First. The charity recruits, trains and places trainee teachers in schools serving disadvantaged communities.  

As part of a national poll* carried out by broadcast specialist Markettiers, four in 10 (42%) of those surveyed voted teachers as one of the most respected careers, alongside doctors (63%). 

The charity also reveals over a third (36%) of people surveyed have thought about becoming a teacher – with roughly half of those (16%) saying the past year has encouraged them to think about it. When looking at different generations, six in 10 (61%) of those aged between 16-24 have thought about a career in the classroom and 55% of those aged between 25-34. 

Around half (47%) agree that people underestimate how much impact a teacher can have on someone’s childhood, while over half (56%) believe that teachers shape the future generation in wider society. A third (32%) believe that their favourite teacher had a positive impact on their life.

With many joining the profession during the Covid-19 pandemic, Teach First trainee teachers are playing a key role in helping their schools support communities that have faced incredible disadvantage and uncertainty due to the pandemic. The poll is further evidence of the importance of teaching as a career, with teachers playing an essential role in the futures of young people to ensure they can maximise their potential. 

The pandemic seems to be changing the public’s perceptions on teachers’ impacts - with a third (31%) of those surveyed saying that the pandemic made them rethink how important teachers are to their local community, by stating that they have been vital to their local area. Almost half (45%) also agreed that teachers aren’t given enough credit for the work they do. 

Alongside this, four in 10 (42%) parents also feel that teachers in their local community need to be given being given more time to support their pupils, while a third (34%) think they should be paid more and that schools in their local areas need better learning resources (33%). As part of their school recovery manifesto, Teach First is calling for more support through a significant increase in funding for school serving disadvantaged communities over the next five years, to address growing inequality in education. 

Encouraging the general public to think of the positive impacts of teachers, when asked their favourite teacher of TV and film, Miss Honey from the 1996 classic, Matilda, was voted first, followed by Karate Kid’s Mr Miyagi and Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act 2 character - Sister Mary Clarence. People favour Miss Honey’s patience (28%), empathy (24%) and ability to listen (23%). It seems that Brits value the same qualities in real teachers today, citing patience (61%), excellent communication skills (50%) and good listeners (45%) as attributes that real teachers display.  

Aftab Mughal, who completed the Teach First programme in 2020 and is now a Year 3 teacher at Kings Heath Primary Academy in Northampton, said:  

“As a primary teacher, you can’t help but love Miss Honey. Matilda’s teacher’s approach to learning is perfectly balanced, she’s gentle but empowering and that’s inspiring. I relate to this as the more I’ve grown confident as a teacher, the more my kids enjoy learning and make progress.  

“My year 5 teacher, Mr Crawforth was the coolest man in the world. The way he listened to us and shared his creativity was such an inspiration and definitely got me thinking about a career in primary education. I actually saw him years later when I was working as a waiter, before starting my teacher training with Teach First. He remembered me after all those years - it was incredible. You don’t always realise the impact you're making at the time, but a good teacher really does stay with a pupil for life.”  

Dr Helen O’Connor, Head of Programme Support at Teach First, said:  

“We can’t deny the vital role teachers across the country have played in helping young people through, and now recover from, the pandemic. We’re proud to work closely with schools who need great teachers the most, ensuring they’re well equipped, feel supported and able to thrive in their roles. 

“Teaching is a profession with rewards like no other, and while it comes with its challenges, we know that the satisfaction and fulfilment of unlocking the potential in young people truly lasts a lifetime. Even more importantly, for the young people they support, a great teacher can change their life.”  



For interview, comment or case study requests, contact the Teach First media team on or call 0203 841 8483.

Notes to Editor  

*Research was conducted by Opinion Matters, commissioned by Markettiers between 18th - 20th October 2021. At least 2,002 members of the general British public answered each question. Results are found in full here (INSERT EXCEL COPY). 

About Teach First

Teach First is an education charity which is fighting to make our education system work for every child. Backing the schools facing the toughest challenges. The chairty finds and trains teachers, develops their leadership teams and plugs them into networks of diverse expertise and opportunities to create real change.   

The charity has now recruited over 18,000 teachers and leaders, has over 95 head teachers in their Training Programme alumni and has supported over a million pupils.   

Those on the Training Programme commit to a minimum of two years at their partner school - gaining a fully-funded Postgraduate Diploma in Education and Leadership (PGCE) and earning a salary whilst they train. More than half then stay on for a third year, where they have the option to top up their qualification to a master’s. Over 60% of all the teachers who’ve completed training since 2003 are currently teaching.   

As well as recruiting new teachers into the profession, the charity provides a range of support for schools, including programmes to help develop teachers at every stage of their career.   

Teach First currently operates in all regions across England: London, West Midlands, East Midlands, Yorkshire the Humber, North West, North East, South East, South Coast, South West and the East of England.  

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