Why I Teach For Malaysia: Joon Kee’s Story

Neoh Joon Kee is among the select few individuals who left their secure careers to be a part of the movement. Here, he discusses his motivations for leaving law for education, how he plans to move forward as a Teach For Malaysia Fellow, and how he hopes to bring out the best from his students.


Teaching is a passion, and the best teachers inspire. When I was on the receiving end of teaching, I could not help but notice that some of my teachers stood out from the rest. They knew their stuff, had ways of making difficult concepts or tasks seem simple and, perhaps above all, acted as role models and advisors to us children and later young adults.

Later, in the brief period that I became a teacher, I sensed the difference I made the moment I walked into the classroom. As the focus of attention of 30-40 inquisitive minds, I felt the pressure to perform, something I accomplished through both preparation and improvisation. Even while working, I found myself educating my colleagues, my peers and the general public on the ins and outs of the Malaysian Legal System. The importance of preparation and improvisation was further reinforced through my interactions with clients, opponents and the Courts.

I therefore feel that a good teacher is a national treasure which should not be restricted only to a select few but which should be put on display to all who seek knowledge and education, like an exhibit in a museum. Teach for Malaysia provides an avenue and opportunity for me not only improve my teaching skills, but also to disseminate knowledge and experience to those who are willing to learn. At the same time, I look forward to learning new things from those whom I will meet throughout the duration of this programme via the two-way medium that is education.

As such, I aim to emulate the role models of my past and ignite the hunger for education and drive to succeed in my prospective students. I hope that my efforts can inspire them to rise above their current situation in life and at the same time remember where they came from and what others who once were in their position will need, to do the same. Malaysia is not a poor country. It is indeed a very rich nation, not only in natural resources but also in human potential. Via Teach for Malaysia, I wish to help manage that abundance so that all who deserve it will be able to make their country proud.