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The duvet daze

You've survived your first hectic term, time for a two-week break to recharge your batteries, says Sara Bubb

Congratulations, you've made it. You've completed your first term as a teacher, and survived. No time in your career is likely to be as tough, so sit back and relax.

You may be so exhausted that once you wind down you sleep for 10 or 12 hours a night. Don't worry about having picked up some strange sleeping sickness. It's just your body recharging its much depleted batteries. I bet you've lost weight too. This is what the Teaching Development Agency should use in its recruitment campaigns: "Want to lose weight? Become a teacher".

Now it's time to switch off from school and the world of education. Not easy, is it? The fact that you're reading The TES suggests you might have an addiction.

What's on your last minute Christmas list? You know you're a teacher when your criteria for clothes is not based on fashion, so much as comfort, ease of washing, speed of drying and not needing to be ironed. And don't forget you can fit into a smaller clothes size because you've lost so much weight.

You also know you're a teacher when you find yourself delighted to be given a laminator with a year's supply of the right sort of pouches.

Are you always losing pens and memory sticks? Ask Santa for ones that dangle around your neck. A personalised mug so that everyone will know whose it is - and not touch it - might be a good idea.

You might even get some bargains in the sales. Buy discounted cards and decorations for home and school - because you know you won't have time next year.

But, oh no, you now have celebrity status so that whenever you go shopping you'll encounter pupils or their parents.

What do you do when you hear the dreaded words: "There's Miss". A polite smile and the odd word should suffice before you move on.

Of course, there are shops to be avoided without a cloak of invisibility: places such as Woolworths, Primark and Topshop are popular with youngsters.

Social events have the same problem: cinemas, bars, restaurants, leisure centres and nightclubs carry even worse risks than shops. As you relax, your guard will drop and you can trust to Murphy's law to be spotted when you are acting in the least professional manner.

There's a lot to recommend spending the festive season as far away as possible from where you work so you can relax and be yourself just for two weeks until it's back to your teacher persona again Sara Bubb is an educational consultant specialising in induction

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