Starbucks taught me to observe my students more.

Written on
July 1, 2019
by
Peter Hostrawser

It’s Monday morning.  I am at a local Starbucks and it is about 11am.  As I looked for a parking space in the small lot, I immediately noticed a long line of cars waiting at the drive-thru.  I parked my car and checked and answered a few emails in my car before I walked in to get a refreshing iced tea.  I was in my car for about 5 minutes.  When I got out of my car, I noticed the line of cars had not moved at all.  My business consulting observing mode kicked in.  

I walked into the store and quickly noticed a large table of 6 people sitting at a table with their laptops out and in some sort of meeting.  My focus then went to the workers in this particular store.  There were only three of them.  All three looked very stressed out and busy.  As I ordered, I turned to notice that the 6 people in the meeting were Starbucks workers as well.  There was some sort of manager running the meeting.  Now it made sense.  There were workers present, however, they were in a meeting and customers were lining up becoming frustrated.  

I have waited for over 15 minutes for my iced tea while the Starbucks team was having a meeting.

I don’t want to complain here.  It happens.  I’m not mad.  I’m a design thinker and observer.  I know business.  Most customers don’t.  They just want their coffee… especially on a Monday.  They may not forgive this time.  They may go to another coffee shop.  They may drop the brand.  

This is a lesson we can learn in schools as well.

I teach teachers to be more student centered.  Students are our customers.  If we don’t see them struggling or even look for how they are doing, we are failing them.  Students are like any customers of any business.  If they feel ripped off or frustrated, they will quit or be disengaged.  We have to observe and communicate with our customers.  Teachers need to learn how processes and curriculum creates or hinders learning.  Just like this particular Starbucks has so many different types of products and customers, we too have to find different curriculums for a diverse set of students/customers to learn.  

In education, we need to be present and learn to read our customers/students better. 

My Iced Tea is here and I’m enjoying it.  The meeting of workers behind me is now going on 35 minutes.  They are talking about where each person is going to go on vacation.  There remains a long line in the drive-thru.  I wonder how many clients they are losing during this meeting? 

I wonder how many students we lose in schools because we do the exact same thing.  


Peter Hostrawser
Creator of Disrupt Education
Change Outdated Traditional Educational Systems #Blogger | #KeynoteSpeaker | #Teacher | #Designthinker | #disrupteducation
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