I AM a lecturer at a public law school in Malaysia. This is a letter to my students, expressing my gratitude to them. In celebration of Teachers Day, I hope this letter can be a message not only to my students, but to all students out there that, we, the teachers, love to learn from them as well. - Nur Husna Zakaria

I AM a lecturer at a public law school in Malaysia.

This is a letter to my students, expressing my gratitude to them. In celebration of Teachers Day, I hope this letter can be a message not only to my students, but to all students out there that, we, the teachers, love to learn from them as well.

I ventured out of the corporate legal world a year ago, proudly thinking that I can make a difference by teaching law and sharing my experience in practice with you, the future lawyers and judges of our nation.

It took me only a year in academia to realise that you, the students, can teach me something bigger than law, by teaching me about life.

A year full of lessons. The Thursday noon lectures and the Tuesday classes. In a big lecture hall and the small seminar rooms.

Together, we learnt legal skills by drafting pages and pages of legal documents. I often nagged at you for using templates for your assignments, instead of starting from scratch.

Sometimes, I tested you on your application of the law or I criticised you for leaving out the full stops and commas. And, once in a while, we exchanged conversations about your day or mine.

A year full of lessons. It wasn’t the Thursday noon lectures nor the Tuesday classes. It wasn’t the lecture hall nor the seminar rooms. It wasn’t the legal skills nor the corporate legal know-how. You weren’t my students. I was yours. A year full of lessons, no allocated time, no designated space — you, the students, taught me life.

A student showed me how a caring act can do wonders — a simple hug that she offered me, my anxiety of having to deliver my first public speech at an international stage was eased. Once, I eavesdropped a phone call a student made to the police, to warn of a danger risk she observed on the road — this concern about the safety of others reminded me that genuine kindness can shine through, even from such a simple act.

A group of other students stood by their principles, even if it made them unpopular. They had the courage and determination to stand their ground because they knew it was the right to do. A handful of the students displayed their remarkable determination to succeed not only in their studies, but in all aspects of their lives.

It is May now. That time of the year when the classrooms are empty and the hallways are quiet. All of you have left this law school to step into a world where the stark reality of life will start kicking in. I hope we have prepared you well for that. In celebration of Teachers Day, I want to bid you farewell by saying, “Thank you. Thank you for teaching me about life”.

Nur Husna Zakaria,

Kuala Lumpur

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