Real teachers reveal dark side

21st January 2005 at 00:00
The Advertising Standards Authority has thrown out complaints that new teacher recruitment adverts were misleading in claiming the job was "better than any anti-ageing cream".

The 15 teachers who protested that stress could add years to your appearance have been told that the Teacher Training Agency was entitled to present the job in a positive light.

A spokesman for the authority said: "We think that most people would recognise that teaching is a demanding vocation ... We don't require advertisers to list all the downsides of a job. It's not making scientific claims, it's just using the anti-ageing cream comparison to promote the rewards of teaching."

Now, teachers on the TES online staffroom have designed their own advert, which they believe provides a more accurate portrait of the profession.

They suggest a scene showing a deserted, graffiti-filled playground. Litter drifts like tumbleweed across the grey asphalt. In the corner, a teacher loads enormous piles of exercise books into a battered car.

The camera then cuts to pupils banging on desks and a teacher making it to the ladies' just before bursting into tears.

Another scene suggested was: "The joy on a small child's face as they understand how to etch a cannabis plant on a desk."

Then, finally: "A parent screaming at a teacher for 'deliberately picking on my child'." The caption which completes this advert would be unlikely to generate many teacher complaints: "Cynical? Sadly, no. All too real."

A TTA spokeswoman said: "Adverts are meant to be motivational. They have been created to stimulate interest in the profession. Research among teachers confirmed that the principal reason they teach is the enjoyment of working with children and we thought that should be the theme of our campaign. The adverts are backed up by career-exploration services which enable people to find out what the job is about."

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