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Break the mould

* Start a hobby. Not reading andor walking. One that needs time and money spending on it and perhaps a subscription to a magazine. The most interesting teachers are the ones who have a consuming hobby that has nothing to do with their job.

* If you do read, cultivate one author or one type of book. If you enjoy walking, concentrate on a particular type (fell walking, for example) or on one area at a time.

* Develop some conversation topics, make them positive andor humorous.

Practise them as a stand-up comedian would practise them. Avoid howlers, if you know what they are.

* The best response to a sarcastic mention of long holidays is to agree it's a perk of the job, but not as much of a perk as it is for university lecturers or MPs.

* Study the fashions and postures of your colleagues. Key factors in a change of fashion are hairstyle and shoes. Ask your hairdresser what he she thinks. As for clothes, go for what suits you and not what suits the job.

* Buy different newspapers at the weekend for a change of views.

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