Teachers have a poor picture of themselves, according to Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development researchers.
Surveys show that despite a gradual erosion of income, teachers' status in society has remained consistently high relative to other professions.
Yet teachers often feel under-appreciated.
"Teachers are in the hurly-burly, and socially the feedback tends to be critical," said Phil McKenzie from the OECD's education and training policy division. "But objective data shows the community still values teachers."
This high status, however, does not translate into applications for teacher training places.
"Children of teachers who used to be a significant source of recruitment do not want to become teachers. Also, qualified women are less likely to go into teaching than into other careers," Mr McKenzie said.
Teaching needs to be sold not just as an important job but as really an "intellectually exciting" one, he said.