Did your teachers have a big influence on your life?

Georgie McDougall, languages teacher at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form in Norwich, has spoke

Georgie McDougall, languages teacher at Thorpe St Andrew School and Sixth Form in Norwich, has spoken about the influence of teachers after a survey revealed they are among the most influential people for the general public. Picture: Tony Buckingham - Credit: © Tony Buckingham/ UNP 0845 600 7737

Almost four out of five people in the East of England believe school teachers have a significant influence on people's lives, a survey has found.

The poll found teachers were the most influential people after loved ones, while a third of people (32pc) in the region said school or university was one of the biggest influences on their lives after family life (58pc) and work life (36pc).

Conducted for the Department for Education's Get Into Teaching campaign, the national survey of more than 3,000 people looked at the public's perception of influence and influencers.

And it found that despite the rise of celebrity and social media influencers, friends, family and school teachers are still the general public's most respected role models.

With students spending around 35 hours at school each week, they spend a significant amount of their most impressionable years in the company of teachers.

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More than half (51pc) of people polled in the East of England said they remembered the name of their favourite teacher, the same amount said teachers helped to push them further in school, and 56pc said they were grateful to a teacher for influencing the person they are today.

Georgie McDougall, a Spanish and French teacher at Thorpe St Andrew High School in Norwich, said: 'As a teacher, you have the unique opportunity to guide pupils into the future and be a positive influence on the adult they will become.

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'It takes enthusiasm, dedication and hard work to teach students and keep them interested, but you do this in the knowledge that your positive influence will play a part - however small or large - in their lives forever. It is so rewarding and, five years into my career, it still motivates me every day.'

Roger Pope, spokesperson for the Get Into Teaching campaign and a National Leader or Education, said: 'In a world where modern-day social media and celebrity influencers are often in the limelight, it is interesting to see how the public recognise the real and lasting impact teachers have as influencers in their own right.

'Teachers are essentially the 'original influencers' in that they are the individuals, aside from loved ones, that people spend a significant amount of time with, giving people from a young age the confidence and courage to achieve.'

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