Lord Puttnam is puzzled. After meeting hundreds of teachers over the past three years, the chairman of the General Teaching Council cannot understand their collective lack of self-worth.
"They are, without question, the most interesting and stimulating group of people I've ever worked with," he said in a TES keynote address at last week's BETT educational technology exhibition in London.
"Generally they are much more entertaining than most of the so-called entertainers I've known," added the former film-maker, who has worked with the likes of the actor Sir John Gielgud in his film Chariots of Fire.
He said better ongoing training or teachers was the key to raising the self-esteem of the profession. Also, he said teachers should begin to look at continuing professional development as a benefit, not an obligation.
Lord Puttnam said the "somewhat negative reaction" to the idea of professional development as a condition of employment had been surprising. The profession had some way to go before recognising it as something for its own good.
He also highlighted the need for better technology training for teachers and said the Lottery-funded programme was not "remotely adequate".
Lord Puttnam's BETT lecture can be read on the TES website: www.tes.co.uk