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Teachers, you're having a laugh

Teachers enjoy their jobs so much that they laugh out loud on average every nine minutes, according to research released this week by the agency charged with promoting the profession to would-be recruits.

Staff typically break into smiles every three minutes and enjoy "two-way banter" with pupils every seven minutes. Teachers are also more likely to experience "highs" during their work than some other professionals said the researchers.

Some 44 per cent of teachers said they experienced this enjoyable sensation regularly, compared to 34 per cent among those working in administration, marketing, IT or accountancyfinance.

The research was based on classroom observations of 57 secondary teachers, and an online survey of 1,086 primary and secondary staff and 300 workers in the four other professions. It also found that 63 per cent of teachers reported that they often found themselves totally immersed in their work.

Some 64 per cent of teachers said they often or always felt happy in their jobs, compared to 58 per cent in the other professions.

The study was commissioned by the Training and Development Agency for Schools, formerly the Teacher Training Agency. Graham Holley, executive director of the TDA, said: "We've known for some time that the enjoyment of working with young people is the main reason teachers like their jobs."

However, the issue of job satisfaction continues to polarise opinion on the TES website.

Some 90 responses were posted this week to a discussion entitled "Why do people carry on teaching if they hate it so much?".

Many teachers said they did the job because they loved it, but others said they were unhappy about the paperwork and lack of respect from pupils.

Two weeks ago, Sara Bubb, the TES agony aunt for new teachers revealed how newly-qualified staff start on a high and hit an emotional trough around Christmas before regaining their enthusiasm in the spring.

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