A survey of 2,000 teenagers has revealed that 46 per cent of them think unpleasant body odour a trait common to teachers. This tops even such cardinal sins of the classroom as "perving" on students, having coffee breath, or telling bad jokes.
This attack on the personal hygiene of the profession forms part of a national teaching survey conducted by teen magazine Bliss. Of those questioned, 80 per cent attended comprehensives. Science staff were labelled evil and boring by 20 per cent of teenagers. But they did well compared with maths colleagues, who were labelled "most evil" by 25 per cent.
Helen Johnston, editor of Bliss, said: "Maths is traditionally one of the hardest subjects to teach. It's pretty dry. So maths teachers are on to a bit of a losing battle. Teachers need to make the subject relevant. They could dip into the world of fashion or sport, looking at David Beckham's bank balance, Britney's clothes allowance, or the technology of texting."
But Barbara Bull, of the Association of Maths Teachers, does not believe lunchtime laps in the playground would help. "Maths teachers can be sexy as well," she said. "I've worked with some who are the sexiest teachers in their school. I don't think Bliss magazine is in a position to tell us how to teach."