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In brief

Career Development for Teachers. By Jim Donnelly. Kogan Page pound;14.99 (second edition).

Deciding to change jobs is the exciting bit. What follows - evenings and weekends of letter-writing and form-filling - is sheer drudgery. But, like an actor in The Mousetrap, you have to remember that every performance is the first for the person who sees it.

Prospective employers, Jim Donnelly warns, "will not make allowances for tiredness or boredom". Donnelly, an experienced head, writes with the knowledge of someone who has seen every conceivable kind of job application.

Ambitious teachers would do well to take notice, not only on the art of applications, but on every aspect of career planning, spotting the right job and getting it from first teaching post to headship.

Thank God It's Monday: how to love the job you do. By Sarah Berry. Hodder and Stoughton pound;7.99.

Sarah Berry thinks we're all far too serious at work. "Look around you and notice your colleagues and associates," she writes. "How often are they laughing, making a joke or seeing the funny side of things? More importantly, when did you last have a really good laugh at work?"

Most teachers would say something like: "Ten minutes ago, when Darren told me what his dad shouted at Gerard Houllier on Saturday."

Berry, an internet career guru, describes a 30-day programme that promises to release your creativity and help you find a new purpose. Have a go - you never know.

Creating Motivated Kids. By Jean Robb and Hilary Letts. Hodder and Stoughton pound;6.99.

All parents and teachers have at some time confused children by giving mixed messages - perhaps by laughing then suddenly turning serious, or by making light of a concern that might be important to a child.

These authors discuss this and all the other traps that lie in wait for parents as they strive to raise the kind of well-motivated, well-balanced, hard-working and successful children your old friends talk about in Christmas letters.

It may be aimed at parents, but the book deserves a wider audience because it's filled with wise advice that will work in the classroom as well as the home.

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