Since the early 1990s, significant progress has been made with regard to education in India. This positive development stands, however, in sharp contrast with the way in which government teachers themselves think and talk about education. Instead of feeling pride and satisfaction, many teachers are unhappy, and often self-critical. Based on focus group discussions and interviews with teachers in Andhra Pradesh, south India, this paper analyses the reasons behind motivations and demotivations of government school teachers. The paper concludes that there is a need for a new professional ethos and culture.