Most people's perceptions of teachers are based on their own schooldays, or their children's, and changes take time to filter through. That could mean more bad news when current pupils of overloaded teachers come to consider career options.
So television's role is vital. Channel 4's irreverent Teachers raised union hackles, but its portrayal of fallible twenty-somethings rather than dull saints probably helped recruitment.
But the ghastly Britain's Sexiest Teacher, screened this week, scraped the bottom of the barrel. Witlessly tacky and exploitative, it raises serious concerns: should teachers - falsely accused of abuse far too often already - want to be seen as sex objects?