TES, Thomas Cook and taramasalata

8th December 2006 at 00:00
Oodles of internet shopping, DIY crazy, and you just love your holidays. But the typical teacher still has surprises up their sleeves, says Susan Young

What is financially astute, has lots of holidays, and does heaps of online shopping? You!

It may be hard to believe, as the gap between paydays seems to get longer every month, but research on thousands of people from different professions reveals all these things - and more - about teachers.

The National Readership Survey shows that you are more technologically literate than average, and are more likely to be married or with a partner - though less likely to be planning a dream wedding in the next six months.

But, boy, are you good at holidays. Not only are you much more likely to have had a holiday in Britain in the past year - which a third of you did, compared to a quarter of the population as a whole - you were twice as likely to have THREE British holidays in that time. Not to mention trips abroad.

Actually, of those trips abroad, not only do you travel more often than most people, but you are also twice as likely to use a ferry or the channel tunnel. Or, most surprisingly, go on a cruise.

Many teachers deny that the job gives them more real time than anyone else, but the research suggests that you make better use of your time off. In fact, the research stands up most of what people believe about teachers: that as a profession you tend to travel, are financially astute (twice as likely to have premium bonds or unit trusts), busy (you do a lot of online shopping), intelligent (are far likelier to speak European languages than the rest of us. Except Polish.) So are teachers born or made? Professor Cary Cooper, an employment expert from Leicester University, says: "Teachers are relationship people, that's why they choose the job. They want to develop people - and children - because they can see the product of their work.

"Lots of people working on assembly lines or doing clerical work in an office never see a product, and even if teachers only see a few kids developing that's a few more than most of us. People like this are much more likely to be married than single," he says. "Also, they are intelligent people whose salaries aren't so good, so they have to think about their future finances, so may invest in stocks."

But, says Professor Cooper: "It is now a very stressful job with more demands than ever. I have studied 80 occupations, and put teachers in the top five for stress. You know why: because it's changed, with lots of demands from government, naming and shaming, teaching to the curriculum, and schools being evaluated.

"I suspect teachers of maybe 40-plus probably experience more problems than younger ones, who came in to the job knowing the situation."

So teachers are both born and created. Born to it, because you are people who need a career based on relationships, and also because you are intelligent and therefore need something which is mentally stimulating and allows for holidays and the experiences they bring.

And teachers are also shaped by the job: high stress levels mean more holidays are required to unwind, while the increasing insecurity of the job means you need to feel more financially secure.

Wanting to find out even more about what makes teachers tick, The TES magazine contacted a cross-section of organisations to find out what they know about you. The results were rather surprising. Your cautious nature may make you a nice safe bet as drivers, homeowners and investors, but insurance companies don't single teachers out for special treatment. They don't really care what you do for a living, even though stress levels might well affect your health.

"If you are a teacher, that's fine. If you are a teacher who has a heart condition and who goes bungee jumping, we are more likely to be concerned,"

says a spokesman for the Norwich Union.

Teachers are also handy with a screwdriver: the research shows you are more likely to be planning home improvements costing more than pound;500 in the next six months. BQ was intrigued. "Is that so? It might be something we want to look at," says a spokeswoman.

Customers of Tesco, the supermarket reputed to make canniest use of its loyalty card scheme, need have no fears. The supermarket may notice if you regularly buy a TES with your taramasalata, but doesn't keep any information on your day job. And the most surprising call was to the Caravan Club, inspired by the urban myth that teachers and caravans have some kind of affinity for each other. Unfortunately, it doesn't ask what members do, says Candy Evans, club spokeswoman.

"But I can tell you that our last two chairmen have both worked in education," she says. "And the editor of our magazine has children at a school where at least four teachers go camping or caravanning at the weekend, so there might be something in it"


Teachers are about a third more likely to do internet shopping than most people (56.7 per cent compared with 39.6).

You are twice as likely to do food shopping online as the average (10 per cent compared with 5 per cent) and likelier to be the main shopper in your household.

You are much likelier than average to spend serious money on internet shopping - more than pound;1,000 a year.


Teachers are twice as likely as the average to have premium bonds tucked away (23.3 per cent compared with 12.2 per cent) or tax free investments such as Isas (42.3 per cent compared with 22.7). You are almost three times likelier to have investment trusts (9.1 per cent compared with 3.9).

You are half as likely to have no credit cards as most people, and much likelier to have credit, store or switch cards in your wallet. But your chances of having a (pricey) charge card? Average.


Teachers are less likely than average to own a plasma TV or home cinema system, but more likely to have a recordable DVD, digital radio or palmtop organiser. Teachers are twice as likely to own a laptop as most people... and much LESS likely to have a PlayStation in the house.


Who had a British holiday in the past year? A third of teachers compared with a quarter of the population in general. And 16.8 per cent of teachers had two British holidays of two days or more (compared with almost 10 per cent for everyone else). Three British holidays? Almost 12 per cent of teachers, 6 per cent for everyone else.

Who went abroad? Three-quarters of teachers went abroad in the past three years, compared with two-thirds for everyone else. You were almost twice as likely to go abroad three times in the previous 12 months, 14.5 per cent compared with an 8 per cent average. Teachers were a third likelier to go on a winter sports holiday than the average (4.6 per cent compared with 2.9 per cent).

Cruises are also popular, enjoyed by 4.7 per cent of teachers compared with 2.4 per cent of everyone else. Maybe you prefer the Channel Tunnel as 7 per cent of teachers do, compared with a 2.8 per cent average.

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