Under a glamour

Graduates shun teaching as it doesn’t offer enough ‘glamour’, according to a new study, reported in the press today.

But is glamour a good thing? A dictionary defines it as ‘Magic, enchantment; delusive or alluring beauty or charm’ (Concise Oxford). A glamour (as a noun) is a kind of spell, usually bringing dire consequences: a type of bewitchment whereby the victim becomes enamoured of an object of desire to the exclusion of all else, wasting away as they ignore the real world… By these standards, a profession that ‘lacks glamour’ could be a good thing.

A certain amount of delusion is part of the human condition, but however alluring delusion might be, reality is surely better. After all, being under a glamour (or geas or other cantrip) is being under someone else’s control…

I accept that neither the survey authors or respondents were thinking of glamour as it may be deployed by denizens of faerie in the Dark Ages, in the pages of the Morte D’Arthur or even in a Harry Potter book. Presumably they mean glamour as in fame, celebrity, glitz – the type of thing a 13-year-old in the grip of a sugar-rush might be impressed by. Accepting (reluctantly) a modern meaning of glamour as ‘appeal’, one consider other aspects of the appeal of teaching. In a survey of teachers’ status earlier this year it was “rated second – beating city-based jobs such as law and accountancy – in a poll of what was considered the ‘most talented profession'” (TDA).