Term Five in Malaysia is now officially over. The exams are marked, the reports are completed and the kids now have their diplomas in hand. I even got in my ‘volunteer day’ at the new campus on Saturday and probably signed up six of the eight parents I talked to about enrolment. Today is the first day of the Christmas break, and I finally get to sit down at the computer and actually do some things I would like to do before heading out on vacation tomorrow.

But before I go, I would like to pause and thank the many students who read this blog for their kind words to me over the past few days. I am well aware of my limitations as a teacher and as a person. All my striving to improve daily cannot fully overcome those limitations. But despite these failings, I seem to have done some good, and that cheers my heart.

So thank you for all those gestures of kindness, the hugs and the handshakes, the requests for pictures and especially the words of encouragement regarding my teaching and the help I have been. This is not the icing on the cake for me, it is my bread and butter, the reason I teach. I no longer need to do this for the money, I do this to help students to be the person they were intended to be, the person they were created to be.

Sometimes I come home from teaching thinking I have achieved nothing, got nowhere, helped no one. Other days I feel like I have been a blessing, been useful to someone, and faithfully represented Christ. A couple of days ago I got a letter from a former student along these lines. I have asked her permission to reprint it here. She said she would be honoured.

“Mr. Wise, I hope you know that St. Thomas and all of the kids from Locke’s have not forgotten about you. Today, I can still say that you have been my most influential teacher throughout all of my years of school. I’m positive you are loving where you are at in your life, and I hope that will always continue for you. Anyways, I just thought I would write you, since you were on my mind. Hope to hear from you. Jessica.”

The term may be over, the kids all gone, but so long as I can, I will be back doing what I can to make this world a better place for all the Jessicas I can reach. I am so very grateful to God for allowing me this privilege.