Almost half of people say they owe everything to an inspirational teacher, according to new research.
Some 45 per cent believe their life would not be what it is today, but for the influence of a particular teacher.
And only one in 10 says the majority of their teachers were largely ineffective, while nearly three-quarters retain memories of someone particularly inspiring, a survey has found.
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The poll for Endsleigh Insurance Services also found that nearly two-thirds of British adults believe their favourite teacher was the only person who really believed in them during their school years.
And 44 per cent have thanked an old teacher in their adult life, for everything they did for them personally and academically. Around seven in ten believes that teachers helped them more than their own family did during their time at school.
The survey also suggests that English is the favourite subject at school, with history second and maths third.
More than three-quarters say their favourite subject was directly connected to the skill of the teacher who took that subject. This appears to have a lasting effect, with 65 per cent saying they still use some part of those subjects in their career.
However, 29 per cent of those polled said they did not realise the importance of education while they were at school, while 17 per cent believe they were allowed to "give up" on their education. Some 10 per cent say they are filled with regret about their behaviour at school.
Endsleigh chief executive Jeff Brinley said: "It’s reassuring to hear how many people recognise the value in the amazing work [teachers] do, and owe their success to an inspirational mentor."
Some 87 per cent of the 1,500 respondents polled saying that they believe teachers deserve more credit, while 77 per cent of us think they are working harder than ever.
Around 58 per cent say the ability to listening is a critical in making a great mentor and educator. Patience (56 per cent) and not giving up on anyone no matter how they behave (52 per cent) were also high on the list.
Meanwhile, 82 per cent retain positive memories of our time in education. However, only 58 per cent of over-60s say they had an inspirational teacher, compared to 87 per cent of 16-to-29 year-olds.