By Stephen Naysmith

The challenges facing teachers are legion: managing behaviour, marking homework, getting pupils through exams. And all the time, trying to remain more important to your charges than Kylie Jenner or YouTuber Joe Suggs.

But Scottish teachers are ace-ing the last of these tasks – at least in the eyes of parents – according to a new poll commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Two fifths (40 per cent) of Scottish adults, said that, apart from friends and family, teachers have the greatest opportunity to inspire and shape future minds.

By contrast, just 21 per cent said social media influencers and only seven per cent cited celebrities.

Nearly two-thirds of adults (62%) said that between one and five teachers helped to positively influence them or inspired them to become the person they are today. And the majority (68%) said they could still remember the name of their favourite teacher.

The online survey was commissioned by the Scottish Government, in partnership with YouGov, as part of a campaign to encourage more people into teaching.

The Teaching Makes People campaign aims to encourage more people studying to consider if they have got what it takes to inspire the next generation – by highlighting that a career in teaching offers a rewarding and challenging role that can genuinely make a difference.

Maxine McNeill (29) qualified in 2014 and has been teaching at Bell Baxter High School in Fife for four years.

She said some friends had told her she was the real influencer. “It makes me laugh but it’s always struck a chord with me because it’s true.

“I love my job and realise what an important role I’m in because I can really make a difference to young people’s lives. I work hard to inspire, lead and motivate every day in a relevant way and hope that I nail it,” she added.

She said the challenge of working with a diverse range of pupils with different backgrounds, ages and abilities is one she thrives on.

“No two days are ever the same. Also, I feel like I have a great work/life balance and the holidays are brilliant, which means I can do a lot of travelling, another great passion of mine”.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the findings showed that teachers continue to play a vital role in society and have the opportunity to make a real difference to future generations.

“In a culture where the influence of social media and celebrities can sometimes put a lot of pressure on young people, it’s reassuring to see that the nation still recognise the long-term impact and influence teachers can have.

“By choosing a career in teaching, you can make a big difference to a young person’s life.

“If you’re driven and ambitious, there are career progression opportunities too. I’d encourage all the undergraduates out there to consider getting into teaching.”

Under the new teaching pay deal in Scotland, the starting salary for a fully registered teacher is currently £32,034 rising to £32,994 by April 2020.

Previous research has shown that the chance to help develop others and to make the most of their own knowledge were key factors for those attracted by and suited to teaching.