A long slow goodbye…

Once upon a time there was a vocally challenged teacher who set up a blog to converse with her students.

And every day the blog got busier and though her vocals got better, it didn’t matter, because the conversation took over… she didn’t have all of the answers, or even some of them but writing helped make sense of the wonder and mayhem, wonder and madness of the classroom.

Until one day her voice dried up. There was a death, and another death. There was a change of job, and another one. And there was no longer a wondrous, infuriating classroom to blog about, to make sense of, to interrogate, review and reflect.

And because of that she stopped blogging, despite the wonders it had brought to her life [here, here, here, here, here, here, here]

Until finally her blog went dormant and became an archive.

This blog is dormant, though I hope it’s not yet extinct.

If you’ve asked a question, posted a comment, or simply wondered about the silence on here, it’s because I am no longer blogging. Perhaps I am thus no longer a blogger, though I keep saying ‘once an English teacher, always an English teacher’… despite the three years I have now been out of the classroom.

I cannot adequately capture the sadness I feel that I no longer write. A combination of grief and circumstances robbed me of my voice and my reason for writing but I retain the hope that one day I will again find the writing voice I once had. Blogging to make sense of the endless internal dialogue so many of us teachers have running on a loop as we turn over the day’s events in the classroom in our heads has been one of the great pleasures of my life thus far.

I’ll leave the archive up, though it’s probably best to warn you that trends come and go (I’m thinking in particular of the comparative) – I’m not sure if the Evelyn of 2017 would give the same advice as she did in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014… so pay at least some attention to the date on which a blog post was published if you are still using it as a guide.

Lastly, thanks to all of you who used and still use the site, who contacted me via the blog, who enriched my professional life so much and who reached out with such sincerity when grief came knocking at my door.

I’m not done with writing (I hope). But for now, I’m done with this blog.


21 responses to “A long slow goodbye…

  1. Evelyn, what a wonderful way to sign off. Thank you for having the courage to share your insights and wisdom. I enjoyed your blog and found it extremely refreshing. I hope to read your words again in the future x

    • Your words on this blog have opened up many eyes, not least mine, over the years you were writing.
      Your gift is taking a leave of absence, but it’s still there and always will be, along with your enthusiasm and your ability to shine a light through the fog.
      Thank you for everything you have done for thousands of students and teachers.
      You’re not finished yet.

  2. Marina Cusack

    Evelyn, your long goodbye proves you have not lost your voice. It’s a beautiful piece of writing. Thank you for EVERYTHING you have given of yourself over the years. You are one of the most inspirational teachers – and people – it has been pleasure to encounter.
    I am sorry to hear that you have been through so much: take your time out, repair, recover, heal. Be kind to yourself, as you would be to another.
    You will be back one day. Perhaps not here but somewhere, in some form or another, when you’re ready.
    Thank you Evelyn for all you have contributed to so many, teachers and students alike.

  3. Thank you so much – you have inspired my teaching many times!!!

  4. Amanda Grace

    You will be sadly missed. Do not pass an opportunity to write a novel for first years (“,) or some revision book for us humble teachers! You have a beautiful style, wit and class about your writing, so please do not let it lie dormant.

  5. Sarah Ní Ghallachóir

    Evelyn, I’ve admired you from a far for many years and have often directed my students to your blog as a useful and inspirational resource. Thank you for all your hard work, it is all appreciated.

  6. Áine Ní Dhroighneáin

    Evelyn, such eloquent words to bid us farewell…
    I wish you all the best. I returned to teaching a short number of years ago, and was landed with a HL English class last year, having not tackled this in a long, long time! Your blog gave me such inspiration, offered such insight and help, made me chuckle often after a hard day, motivated me to be the best teacher of HL English I can be.
    You will be missed. Mind yourself. Be good to yourself. Take time.Like Philomel who was robbed of her voice, I hope the sweet nightingale will return one day, pluck a plume and inspire us all once again.
    Thank you, and goodbye (for now!)

  7. I’ve admired your blog for a long time and just want to add my thanks and best wishes

  8. thanks so much for your kindness and openness in sharing your materials and ideas. All the best in your journey!

  9. This is truly a beautiful post. Like your others, I link this site to my school`s site so my students can all view the latest ones.

  10. Hope you have a awesome life Evelyn

  11. You have been my rock, I will miss you so much Evelyn. Thank you for your wisdom and words. Sending you light and love.


  12. Eileen Murray

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your thoughts Evelyn. I’m very sorry to hear of your bereavement. Grief is a long and slow process, so take all the time you need. We will miss you,
    Eileen Murray.

  13. Mike Dungan

    Evelyn, so sorry life’s been so hard. I would like to echo what Marina Cusack says so eloquently and aptly above, and thank you for all the times I visited your blog.

  14. Siobhan Reynolds

    I hope you’re writing a novel … I just read your descriptive essay journeying to a funeral; I want to read the book. Your sparse style is reminiscent of Keegan’s, its atmosphere so evocative, everything is palpable.
    Your talents drip out of you, take the time to heal, but please return to the classroom to show us all how to do it!

  15. Deirdre Gannon

    Okay, Evelyn,
    So you’re not in the classroom. But you’ve demonstrated – more than completely – how excellent you are at writing study guides.
    Set your sights higher than a blog, and only just write analyses or study guides to the comedies and tragedies of Shakespeare, or the modern dramas, or film analysis. Write advice for students and get it published. Stop mourning. You’re an excellent writer and teacher, so hop to it and continue what you so love doing.
    I am a teacher in England, teaching Lear for A Level. I have only just discovered your excellent blog, the co-ordinates of which I am forwarding to my niece who is taking her Leaving Cert this year, and while I’m delighted to have read your blog, I’m mightily annoyed that it is now finished.
    Please continue. Thanks,

    • Thanks Deirdre, a right good kick up the arse might be just what I need! I won’t be writing study guides et al but I’m sure the writer in me is just dormant rather than dead! Best wishes to your niece and indeed to you, Evelyn

  16. Thank you so much for this helpful site. You’ve provided much help to me for a lesson I’m trying to plan. I wish you all the best.

  17. Many thanks for your the time and effort that you put into this blog Evelyn, it has been a huge help over the years. I am very sure many people have benefitted from your kindness and generosity, so always take that thought with you.

    The very best of luck to you in your future endeavours.

  18. Anita Cody-Kenny

    I’m only seeing this now, thank you so much for all your wonderful posts Evelyn. The best of luck in the future. xxx