Article: Professional fulfilment and pride – a snapshot of the modern classroom

Stewart McCoy, strategic operations manager at recruitment specialist Randstad Education, lifts the lid on professional fulfilment in teaching

New research from Randstad Education shows that education professionals are among the most fulfilled workers in UK. A poll of 2,000 workers from a wide range of different industries revealed that 72% of education professionals said they were professionally fulfilled, compared with a UK average of 62%. And while one in eight (13%) of UK’s workers said they were unfulfilled, just one in fourteen (7%) working in education said they were unfulfilled.

As part of its Fulfilment@Work report, and launch of a campaign to help people find greater fulfilment, How I Became, Randstad interviewed approximately 45,000 employees from the UK as well as Britain’s English-speaking and European peers over the course of three years.

The Randstad How I Became initiative ( is a social campaign inspired by the real stories of real people who are fulfilled at work.
The education sector was the joint third most fulfilled profession, after IT and professional services. People working in Telecoms and Administration were the least fulfilled (40% and 47%).

RandstadTableThe research also found that teachers have higher levels of professional pride than most sectors in the UK. 61% of teachers said they were proud to work in their profession, higher than the survey’s average of 58%.

So what makes those people working in education more fulfilled and proud than the average UK professional?

Teachers have battled against a negative perception in popular opinion. In the past, this has been exacerbated by the idea of teaching being a steady job in which many stay in the same post for their whole working lives. In addition, we sometimes notice a degree of negativity in the media towards teachers who go on strike.

Today, the teaching profession is a beacon of professionalism. Teachers are increasingly accountable for their pupils’ attainment levels, and the increased number of business partnerships with schools is challenging the perception that the profession is removed from the business world.

The supply teacher market is a prime example of this. Far from being an easy option, under-performing supply teachers are weeded out at short notice and only successful, high-quality teachers are retained. Despite working against these pressures, our research has shown that 73% of supply teachers are proud of the work that they do.

For example, Sian Clendenan, a Supply SEN Learning Mentor, took a drastic change in career to achieve professional fulfillment, moving from banking to now working in Special Educational Needs schools.

“For me working with children with behavioural difficulties is the best job in the world. They’re usually the brightest; the loudest and usually the most ready to become learners. Every once in a while you get to see the spark that shows up in their eyes and is a physical spark, all of the sudden you know that they’re able to learn and they’re ready to do it, they’re on, they can do whatever the task was they thought they could never ever do, and you’d done that.”

“You’ve got to be physically strong, you’ve got to be mentally strong, you’ve got to be open minded, open hearted; you’ve got to have a lot of love. Find out a bit more about it, maybe take a course, and have a look at yourself, and say,’ I don’t know, am I going to be able to show up every morning doing the best job possible?’ If you’re not up in the morning, and you’re ready to go, it’s probably not for you, as your students will be.” (Article continues below…)

Steph McCoy is a supply PE teacher at Handsworth Grange Community Sports College in Sheffield. She was inspired to take up her career by one of her own teachers who captured her imagination.

“My early years as a supply teacher in different schools taught me how to tackle new challenges every day and gave me experiences of other parts of the curriculum which made me a much more confident teacher. It was fantastic training. It also meant that I knew the perfect school for me when I found it. Since I’ve been here, my school has moved from being in special measures to one which is rated as Good by OFSTED, with aspirations towards outstanding. As a team player, I like to think I’ve played my part in that.”

Steph’s recommends supply as the route into teachers and to find your feet within the profession. “Make yourself invaluable, run a club, get involved, speak with the subject leader, see if there’s anything else you can do, stay after school, be on time, prepare, make friends with everybody, enjoy yourself and work hard.” (Article continues below…)

The Randstad How I Became initiative ( has a web hub which contains films from people who work in a range of business sectors, from education to finance providing key pieces of advice designed to help future candidates on their path to professional fulfilment. The hub is designed to be a dynamic place to find career boosting advice.

As part of the campaign, Randstad Education has organised a live Q&A on Twitter with Genevieve Wood, a primary school teacher who has made great use of supply teaching opportunities to shape her career for the better. She has taught a huge range of subjects to a range of different class sizes and ages; in inner-city schools as well as rural ones.

Join us for the live conversation on Twitter @RandstadJobs at 6pm on Thursday 5th December, and tweet your questions using the hash tag #askrandstad

Article Image Source:


Randstad hosted a Question and Answer session with primary supply teacher, Genevieve Wood. Here are some tweets from the chat:























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The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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