Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Slice of Life: Starbucks!





If you are a student in my classroom, you know that every so often, I will yell out, “Has anyone seen my tea?”  My students are used to seeing me carry my Venti sized Starbucks cup around the classroom as I work.  And they become very skilled at finding it for me when I seem to have placed it on a bookshelf, a table or the floor next to my stool.  They know that my mornings begin at Starbucks.

Can you find my Starbucks cup?

There are lots of things I love about living in Dublin, Ohio.  One of them is that, in my opinion, we have the best Starbucks in the world. I find a Starbucks in every city I visit and I have yet to find one that compares to the downtown Dublin Starbucks.   It is the place I stop on my way into school every morning.  The Starbucks is in the middle of town and there is no drive through.  No matter the weather, everyone goes in to get their morning caffeine.  This 5-minute stop on my way to school, has become a favorite way to start my days and my students come to learn this about me pretty quickly.

Many mornings I walk into Starbucks to find my Venti Awake Hot Tea already ready before I even order at the counter. The cup has been marked with my name—the staff often notices when I enter.  And every so often a little drawing decorates my cup.  A fun treat at random times. A staff member may ask questions about the school year. I might ask one of the girls behind the counter how her new baby is doing.  They know me from our quick morning conversations and we’ve come to share quick stories every morning. 

Everyone is on a first name basis at "my" Starbucks.  I realized after weeks of thinking that the Starbucks employees loved me most, that everyone gets the same treatment in the morning. Everyone gets the one-one-one personal hello that I do. I call it my “3-minute Cheers experience”. 

Last winter, a man in front of me, in town for a business meeting said, “When you get up there, will they already know what you want?” He had been watching for a few minutes and picked up the feel of this particular Starbucks.  He was amazed at the relationships that the crew had with nearly every person who ordered a drink.  It doesn’t take long for visitors to realize that this place has a lot of positive energy.  They can't help but smile as they watch.

This is the perfect morning stop for me on the way to school. My family and friends continue to be amazed that I will get out of the car in thunderstorms and ice in order to get my Starbucks fix.  But my morning stop is about more than the tea.  Every day,  my day starts off in a positive way.  And, I am reminded of how important those first minutes of the morning are and of how important a positive transition to each day can be.  I’ve learned that a quick hello and acknowledgement can set my day off right. 

I carry my Starbucks cup around all morning.  I love hot tea but my Starbucks cup has come to be a reminder of my morning and the life lessons I've learned from my morning stops into Starbucks over the past 5 years.  My Starbucks cup reminds me how you can really get to know someone in just a minute or two each day and that those conversations add up.  It reminds me that those first few minutes in the morning matter. They set the stage for the day.  Taking 30 seconds out to really say hello to each child who walks into the classroom—before the busy-ness of the day takes over, can set the tone for the day. It is easy to get caught up in “getting ready for the day” instead of really focusing on each child as they walk through the doorway.  

In a Facebook post last week, my brilliant friend Jen Ochoa reminded me of a Maya Angelou quote I heard years ago, "You must remember, the very first thing a child sees, the first thing they notice when they see you, is you seeing them. They look carefully to see what your face looks like as you lay eyes upon their face. When you see a child, no matter what, remember to fix your face." 

My daily visits to Starbucks are about so much more than caffeine:-)








21 comments:

  1. I could have easily written this post. I love my Starbucks and can't imagine going to school without it. Everybody knows what I get, and it's wonderful to catch up with the employees who know my name.

    I'm also constantly losing my Starbucks cup in my library and I frantically search for it until it's in my hands again. Last year, my Battle of the Books team gave me a nice-sized Starbucks gift card as a thank you because I start every practice with my cup in my hand.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm a secondary teacher, and this year I teach three periods in a row! Thanks for the reminder that no matter how crazy the process of leaving the room is, those coming in still deserve a smile and a personal hello at the door.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, I love this post! Great analogy - reminds me of "Cheers" - remember that great show?;-)I also love the Maya Angelou quote. Thanks for the reminder that we need to make that kind of community at our schools!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love when you said this, "My Starbucks cup reminds me how you can really get to know someone in just a minute or two each day and that those conversations add up. It reminds me that those first few minutes in the morning matter. They set the stage for the day" It is so important to set the stage, know everyones name and what they like.

    I look forward to my Dunkin' ...but I never get out of my car. I love your writing, Franki, and am so glad you will post on the slice! xo

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hate Starbucks coffee. It's way to harsh for me but I if I lived in Dublin, I might be joining you for a latte/skim. We have a favorite diner in Paramus- the Suburban. The food is good but the staff makes it! The environment you create in your classroom brings home that same mood... finding your tea... letting them into your life :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. You are very fortunate. Our Starbucks change staff too often and there is no seating - not the lovely experience you have described.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Great point -- it's like Maya Angelou's quote, "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think you might have the best Starbucks. (The barista at the one on 87th and 3rd in Manhattan used to ask me "Hot or cold?" every morning. He knew I wanted a tall nonfat white mocha without whipped cream and with an extra shot of espresso.) However, having the drink waiting for you is awesome. You should share this post with Starbucks customer service. I'm sure they'd love to hear how great your local Starbucks is!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Ooo, I love the quote. I feel it is so true but never really thought about them looking at me like that. It gives a different perpective to imagine them seeing us in this way.
    Caffeine is like my third child, loved, greeted in the morning with a hug and maybe even a kiss, and I am so grateful for it each day. I think I will go home and have a cup to let it know how much I missed it while I was at work. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. It's not just the spoken word that allows you to know someone. This community of slicers is an example of how little snippets of information bring us closer together. We learn so much about each other through these slices, that when we meet it's like greeting an old friend. What a lovely way to start your day!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sounds like a great Starbucks! I love the symbolism of your lenti cup! I just started going to Starbucks (ONE block from my house!) to write. What a great atmosphere. Calm, background noise, hissing of coffee machines....cool place.

    ReplyDelete
  12. You get to stop at Starbucks and Tara can get a cappuccino in her school cafeteria. Is there a theme running through the Slices today? I wish the people at our Starbucks were as nice. I stop in every Tuesday afternoon to pick up day old pastries for our local food bank. Some days I am lucky to even get attention. Often they never even look up. And I live in a small town where everyone is supposed to know everyone. They should go to your Starbucks school.
    I love the Maya Angelou quote. I will definitely fix my face the next time I go to Starbucks. Maybe they are reflecting my mood. Eh, gads. Didn't think about that!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love this post. I almost feel a part of your Starbucks experience since we used to be on the phone every morning talking on our way to school. I miss that and I miss your visits at Starbucks. It truly is a great place to start your morning. I know your classrooms has the same feel as the children enter for the day. That is what starts a great day at school.

    ReplyDelete
  14. You had me giggling at the beginning, since I'm always setting things (usually my clipboard) down in strange spots in the classroom and then not being able to find them! I'm not a Starbucks person, but I've been to the downtown Dublin one a couple of times with classes at Sells, and it does seem like a cute, charming place. I love that they sometimes have your drink ready, and I love even more that the guy was able to tell it was that kind of place!

    What I love most is the Maya Angelou quote. That may have to be one that gets taped to my desk so it will catch my eye on the crazy days and remind me to keep loving my students even in the midst of meetings and SLOs and paperwork!

    So glad you're slicing with us! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I think my morning classes have noticed that I have a tendency to misplace my coffee. (It's homebrewed Starbucks - and the barista here never messes up my order. ;) At least one class has heard me say under my breath, " If I was my coffee, where would I be?"
    I do love how you point out the cumulative effect of a thousand short interactions for you at Starbucks - and point out how important those brief greetings to your kids are.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Beautiful post. I love this analogy and the great reminder it provides.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love the Maya quote. Your Starbucks reminds me of the one inside the Safeway I go to many mornings...Zen tea with two honeys...

    ReplyDelete
  18. Like several others, I love the Maya Angelou quote. So, so, so true! Every kid deserves to be greeted with a smile, a comment specific to them, and preferably, a cup with their name! Thanks for this important reminder!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great quote and we all could use a little "Cheers" in our life.

    ReplyDelete
  20. It's a pleasure to read this, to think about my own Starbucks 'cheers', although I don't go every day, Franki. I love that you've connected kindness to our classroom greetings, too. It is the most important thing we can do as teachers. Thanks for the Maya Angelou quote too-very special!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love this, and that this stop rain or shine is part of your routine. Makes me smile.

    ReplyDelete

We welcome your contribution to the conversation!