The article starts from the theory of the crucial contradiction of the contemporary teaching profession. This is characterised as the tension between two poles - perspec-tives on contemporary teaching. In terms of the first perspective it is presented as an occupation of key significance for social, cultural and economic development and personal biography. From the second, how-ever, it is regarded as under threat because of inability to fulfil this role. Emphasis on the positive perspective is illustrated by references to important UNESCO, EU and OECD documents. Analysis of the negative perspective focuses on the situation in the Czech Republic, doubts expressed over the necessity for university education of teachers are particularly problematic. The causes of the situation described are analysed in the second part of the article, which discusses the following issues: continuing prejudices over how far teaching is genuinely a demanding profession; shortcomings in the organisation of teaching by teachers today in the light of international comparative research projects; intensifying dilemmas, or contradictions characterising the work of teachers and fuelling criticism of teachers from various theoretical and educational political positions. The third part of he article characterises four components of a comprehensive strategy for strengthening the position of the teaching profession in harmony with the demands of a learning./knowledge society.