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Level spirits

Sara Bubb on why one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor is not a game for this party.Beware staff parties. One new teacher I know threw up in the chair of governors' bath, on her brand new white carpet and then in a colleague's car on the way home. The Christmas do can be a stressful affair for anyone, especially new teachers. The combination of exhaustion and sheer exhilaration that you've made it in to the end of term can mean that you let your hair down a little too far, with disastrous results. It's all too easy to drink more than you can handle when you're tired, hungry and not used to alcohol.

At staff parties there are always people who drink vast quantities, are too loud and encourage others to join them in outrageous behaviour. Often these types never get a hangover or actually do anything embarrassing - they're just very good at encouraging other people to. They'll be the ones organising apparently harmless party games such as spin the bottle that lead you into doing things you will regret in the cold light of day. Some people have got into such a state that they can't even remember the teachers they've declared passionate love to, the people they've insulted and the governors they've flirted with.

Teachers letting their hair down has always been a juicy spectacle because we are meant to be pillars of society. But in this digital age someone can easily snap an incriminating picture of you that will be on Facebook or YouTube in no time. Try to party outside the school catchment area or anywhere where you're likely to be seen by pupils or their parents. The only trouble is, they tend to get everywhere.

Enjoy yourself but go easy. Take all the precautions you know you should, such as lining your stomach beforehand, not mixing your drinks, watching your consumption and asking a good friend to keep an eye on you. If you do let your professional demeanour drop too far, don't beat yourself up about it.

Sara Bubb is an educational consultant specialising in induction. She regularly answers questions at www.tes.co.ukstaffroomnew_teachers.

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