November saw the sudden passing of our dear friend and colleague Stephen Cullen. His death was a profound loss and his absence is still felt to this day. Stephen was usually one of the first acquaintances you made upon starting work at The English Studio. He was keen to know you, get a sense of your politics and give you more than a sense of his. During breaks, the staffroom where Stephen held court was a jovial place where colleagues couldn’t help forgetting that they were at work.
During his long career in education Stephen worked as both teacher and Deputy Principal at Loreto Balbriggan before moving on to the private ELT sector. Typical of his generation, Stephen understood the value of and the need for trade unions. Many have spoken of his dedication to UNITE and he was a constant vocal presence both at meetings and at protests. Indeed, the struggle we all face in this hostile economic climate is but another reason that I miss him. As we move forward, his memory guiding us, we do not say goodbye but rather in his own words, “hasta bananas”.