Teachers third biggest influence on people’s lives – survey

Teachers are the biggest influence on a person’s life behind only parents and friends, new research suggests.

Some 82% of people said teachers were very, or quite, influential on the lives of others, according to the results of a survey published by the Get Into Teaching campaign.

More than a third (36%) of the 3,002 respondents in England aged over 16 said school or university was one of the biggest influences on their life – tipped only by family life (58%) and work life (40%).

When looking at those who had most recently been in education – 16 to 23-year-olds – this figure rose to 49%, with only 12% saying celebrities and popular culture.

Overall, celebrities (59%) and social media influencers (56%) were deemed to have less effect than parents, friends and school teachers.

Almost two-thirds (62%) said between one and five teachers helped to influence and shape them into the person they are today, and 43% felt teachers influenced them most between the ages of 13 and 15.

The majority (58%) remembered the name of their favourite teacher, and 64% said they were grateful to at least one teacher for inspiring the person they are today.

Roger Pope, spokesman for the Get Into Teaching campaign and a National Leader for Education, said: “Our research underlines how teachers have stood the test of time when it comes to shaping the lives of others.

“In a world where modern-day social media and celebrity influencers are often in the limelight, it is interesting to see how the public recognise the real and lasting impact teachers have as influencers in their own right.

“Teachers are essentially the original influencers in that they are the individuals, aside from loved ones, that people spend a significant amount of time with, giving people from a young age the confidence and courage to achieve.

“Teaching should be a consideration for anyone looking for an opportunity to make this kind of positive and lasting impact as it genuinely is a career that few others can compete with.”

When asked about teachers leaving a positive and lasting influence, more than half said teachers had helped to push them further, or believed in their talents (56%).