How can you persuade young teenagers to learn something from you?
When you face the late-90s generation, you need to be cool.
Guo Yazhong, 20, a junior majoring in Electrical Engineering and Automation at Nanjing University of Science and Technology, is a “cool guy” who knows magic.
He began to learn magic when in junior middle school and is now the leader of the magic club at his university. But when the club was chosen by Nanjing No 9 Middle School to launch a class as part of an enrichment program there, Guo was worried.
But Guo took a different approach. In the opening class in October, while other members introduced the club in detail, he stood on the platform and only said: “Who wants to learn magic? Follow me.”
Then, instead of introducing himself, Guo performed magic. He asked a student to pick out a card from a poker set, without showing him, and he then found the right card after riffling through the pack. When he held the card in hand, he quickly turned it to another one, and then suddenly three cards with the same number and pattern. The students were all surprised.
“I told them that if they wanted to become as cool as me, they must listen to me carefully and study hard,” Guo said.
Magic is fun to watch, but the skill behind it is quite boring, and needs lots of practice. But the students did better than Guo expected. “Although I teach them once a week, they’ve made huge progress,” Guo said.
Gradually, Guo started to like the students, who have a strong will to learn. “I think they perform even better than some college students in my club,” Guo said.
However, not all students were easy to deal with. One student, who knew some magic always liked to expose Guo’s trick when he performed magic in class. Guo said he was angry, but instead of shutting him up, Guo asked him to perform in front of the class.
“He did not have the ability to perform well. So he kind of made a fool of himself,” Guo said.
After months of teaching, Guo admitted that he has learned a lot from those students. “The late-90s generation is totally different from us,” Guo said.
“They are eager to learn and will only be convinced if you have a strong ability. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy to win their trust, and I think that’s worth it.”