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Brainstorm: The Next Generation | Life’s reward

Last week, in the midst of the saddening concerns about the spread of the NCov-2019 virus, there was at least some joy in the news when the names of the new judges appointed by the President came out.

I was personally quite happy with the news since old friends, law school and even elementary school classmates were among them.

What was such a joyful surprise to me was the fact that there were also quite a number of new appointees to the judiciary who were former students of mine in the Ateneo de Davao University College of Law.

I joked with myself thinking that I must really be getting old if my students are already becoming judges but truly, reading their names had my heart thumping loud with the swell of pride and happiness and I was filled with elation just as, I am sure, the rest of the law school faculty were as well.

“The Joy of Teaching is Its Own Reward”, the saying goes, though I hope that the school will not think that this means that the teachers will not appreciate pay hikes.

Seriously, this saying resonates well with us in the law school faculty, particularly to those who have been at it for a long time. I have been teaching for around twenty-three (23) years now and there are many in the ADDU College of Law who were my own teachers and who have been at it for much longer.

It is not as if we have become wealthy from teaching, far from it. The fact is that the joy we get from teaching is found in the act of teaching itself. The sense of fulfillment we get from knowing that our students are learning because we are there doing what we love to do is indeed the reward in itself.

For us, the greatest joy is seeing students mature into great lawyers. I cannot help but gape with twinkling eyes and smile whenever I see and hear a former student making good arguments or performing excellently in trial work in court though sometimes I have to stop myself from being caught stunned by admiration when I am at the receiving end of such good legal work as the opposing counsel.

All this is already a sweet reward of life but seeing a former student being elevated to the judiciary, from just being an officer of the court to becoming a dispenser of justice, is simply icing on the cake. It is so fulfilling yet humbling at the same time.

To all my former students who are now members of the bench, those who have been there for some time now and those newly enrobed, I would like to offer my most heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS and my sincerest THANKS for giving greater meaning to my life’s work.

I hope that you will not take it against me, or worse, hold me in contempt of court if, upon my first appearance in your sala, I might be compelled to say with the twinkle of pride in my eyes “YOUR HONOR, IT IS MY HONOR!”

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