The actor George Burns once explained how he selected roles. "If it's a good script, I'll do it. And if it's a bad script, and they pay me enough, I'll do it."
Most teachers are more idealistic, but money still matters. Ministers hoped the pound;2,000 threshold rises would make the job more palatable. But economists have this week revealed how much more it would take to eradicate staff shortages - a 25 per cent rise in young teachers' relative earnings (page 10).
It's a comforting dream, particularly for teachers who find, two or three years after qualifying, that they cannot afford a new pair of shoes, let alone a car. However, it is not going to materialise, especially now that any spare Treasury cash is likely to be diverted to the "war" on terrorism.
For the time being, a little more money and a little less bureaucracy is as much as teachers can expect. The new shoes may have to wait.