Every moment of everyday we have the opportunity to give something of value to those around us. Giving value doesn’t require one to be rich but it requires the willingness to share and some degree of competence in certain subject matters. We all have different talents and skills; I’m pretty sure you’ll find a different way to give value to those around you. In this blog post, I’d like to share with you how I do it by being a teacher on the go.
My line of work requires me to travel a lot and meet a lot of people. This entails waiting even when people are late, so I had to develop patience and learn to occupy myself with different activities while waiting. Among the activities I do is performing some flourishes with coins, cards, ring, basically the small objects I carry around with me. This attracts the attention of some people around me and get some conversations started. How often do you see people balancing a fan of playing cards on top of another fan of playing cards?
When I get the conversation started, I would be asked to perform magic and I often oblige. This happened to me again yesterday but it wasn’t because of work. I was actually waiting for friends so that we could visit the late father of a common friend. After taking dinner, I was playing around with a deck of cards and had a group of people come to my table. I performed a few magic tricks then others went to their respective funeral rooms. There were two young boys who stayed with me. One was nine years of age and the other was eleven years of age.
They asked me to perform more magic tricks and while doing so, I asked about their school and their subjects. Apparently, neither one had math as his favorite subject. Normally, I bring a backpack with me which always has my whiteboard. Yes, I bring a small whiteboard with me; I’ll explain that later. But yesterday, I only brought a small sling bag with me. Fortunately, I had blank sheets of bond paper with me. I started showing them tricks with math. I then proceeded to teach them some tricks they could use as well. The advantage of using paper is that they were able to bring home a souvenir which they can review.
This was a great introduction to get to know what their dreams and aspirations were. Both of them want to become soldiers when they grow up. As a former ROTC officer and a ready reserve of the Philippine Army, I was able to dispel some of their misconceptions about the career they wish to undertake. I’m pretty sure that their aspirations might still change as they grow up but it is important that we acknowledge such dreams the youth have. This is a principle I put into practice even as I taught as a volunteer teacher in Maguindanao for a year but that’s a story for another article.
I guess the only thing I have to explain now is the whiteboard I carry in my backpack. During my college days, I worked as a tutor, mostly teaching math subjects. I also earned income through performing magic. I found that using magic to teach is effective in capturing the attention of students. Keeping their attention was a bit different especially for younger kids.As I explored different techniques and methods of teaching, I found that some children preferred to work on a whiteboard than on a piece of paper. I also found a way to incorporate math into some of my stage magic acts, some of which would utilize a small whiteboard.
I have been able to develop using magic to teach math. Many of the techniques and principles I use will be discussed in a book I worked on titled, “Math In Magic: Bringing the Magic of Math to Class” which is set to be published by January 2019 on Amazon.
But enough about my shameless plugging. Let’s go back to becoming a person who gives value to those around you. I just shared with you my own way but you could come up with your own with a simple formula: Be-Do-Have
1. Be a person of competence, compassion and commitment.
You cannot share anything of value unless you are competent in that area. You must also have the compassion to want to share your time and skills. Lastly, you must be committed to becoming a person who gives value.
2. Do recognize the skills you can offer and find ways to share them.
The skill you discover may not be teaching and that is fine. Even if you find that what you are good at is making people laugh, there’s a lot of good that can come out of that. You can be able put a smile on someone’s face. And in our world where most people hide their sorrows, it just may be what the world needs.
3. Have some influence in the lives of others.
It is a noble goal to want to be of some good impact to others but we have to remember that what we do may not be that great, What is important is that we do them anyway; for it is the little things we do that shape the world we live in
MysterE is the stage name of Earl Wong, a magician, educator and entrepreneur. He has dedicated his time and effort to creating educational materials with a sprinkle of magic. He is also a financial advisor affiliated with Sun Life Financial which allows him to personally spread financial literacy.