And now, the end is near and so I face the final curtain. It’s time to thank those of you who may have stopped by and lingered and those who stopped by and contributed. It’s time to thank those of you who have encouraged others to come and join the readership of this blog. I would like to name everybody in my thank you speech, but I’m not going to. But I am going to say that I am really appreciative of the efforts of some to share this blog with other people and equally appreciative of those who have come to the blog and tried to deepen the exploration of certain themes by offering their views. As the album notes frequently say, you know who you are.

There’s no point in writing -well, very little point- without a readership. And it was encouraging to see that this readership grew over time until it settled at a modestly low total. When I am treading along the Way of Heaven, you will be able to say, I followed him before he got big. Metaphorically speaking. He was always quite big, physically speaking. Your grandchildren will envy just how damn smoking you were. You will be seen as so hot that, years later, people will surreptiotiously place tinfoil-wrapped jacket potatoes in your coat pockets and wait for them to cook. Well done, you!

Thanks are obviously due to the Old Master. But he’s dead so there’s very little point in ladling it on too thickly. Lao Tzu wrote a book (probably not) that provides an excellent vehicle for exploring all sorts of different things. If tao is what taoism says, then there is a tao for all seasons. Where other blogs post weedy challenges that anyone can do, this blog postures macho…[errr…what’s the adverb for macho? Macholy? Shurely shome mishtake?] and challenges you to write the Tao of your teaching. 81 chapters, each one a reflection of what you do in the classroom. I know that nobody will respond to this challenge, buy that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t.

Blogs, like most writing in the 21st century, are ephemera that are blown away in the wind. Taoism would probably see that as a strength. So this blog doesn’t expect to be missed too much by its reader(s). At best it hopes for a sadness at its passing, but realises that by the time that you turn away from the keyboard, it will no longer be a concern. And I think that it is OK with this, but it would like you to do it the honour of reflecting for one moment about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. We live in a disposable society where people’s work can be consumed and then expunged from the brain. Are we missing the middle step of digesting much of what we consume?  Or is there some truth to the argument that technology makes so much pre-digested pap available to us that we don’t have to? If the latter is true, then I hope that this blog has at least provided some food for thought.

The blog’s primary reader was myself. This was an idea for a book that I had had for some years but knew that my literary talents would not stretch that far. When I discovered blogs, it occurred to me that I no longer needed to meet any standards. I could churn out my book and force myself upon unsuspecting people at the party. Really, I think I just tapped away every morning in the hope that something would become clearer to me or would make me laugh. I am still immensely proud of my observation that Lao Tzu was a sage who certainly knew his onions. It’s probably a hackneyed old pun -I’m too scared to Google it- but it’s my hackneyed old pun. And I’ve had the good grace not to repeat it until now.

Thank you once again for putting up with me. Even if you only ever stopped by a couple of times before it all got too much for you. For those of you who felt trapped into staying until the bitter end, my thanks are accompanied by my apologies. I can be a right arse a lot of the time. I hope that this blog will have at least inspired you to take up a copy of the Tao Te Ching – or the Dao De Jing- and re-read it. It’s a fantastic tool for self-reflection. I’d try to do a Tao of ELT Management, but I think that I am too far from my path in this calling…I’d love to read somebody else’s efforts.

So good luck in finding your Way. And as the words Way and Road take on a new layer of meaning for some of you, your final piece of homework is to compare and contrast the following and reflect upon which one is more poignant at this sad time of our paths diverging. HEIGH HO SILVER!

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.



Categories: Commentaries on TTC
  1. April 6, 2011 at 09:11

    Having stuck with you to the end, with some wavering, plateau-ing and back-sliding (not unlike language acquisition, actually), I just want to thank you for providing a regular philosophical, theological, pedagogical pick-me-up, usually at breakfast time, when the previous evening’s excesses were still resonating, and where a dose of the immortal sage, onions and all, was just the kind of thing to kick-start my own febrile ruminations.

    “It is in life as it is in ways, the shortest way is commonly the foulest, and surely the fairer way is not much about” (Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning).

    Well, this blog has been the fairer way (albeit the blog less travelled by).


  2. Andy Hockley
    April 6, 2011 at 09:21

    Cheers. For all of it. It was (and will continue to be) a great read.

  3. April 6, 2011 at 09:22

    There’s the Japanese term “mono no aware”, which according to Wikipedia is “an awareness of the transience of things…and a gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing.”

    This blog *will* be missed, and I hope you keep it available for reference, and that, after a well-earned break, you return to the ELT web in one form or another!

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