Cup of Joe
Each morning as I pulled into the parking lot of school, I was greeted by the same internal monologue that clouded my mind with doubt, anxiety and fear. I don’t know if I can do this. What was I thinking? It’s not too late to turn around…just do it. Do what? Turn around or walk in and get the show on the road? Self-doubt waged war on my human spirit, and I overcame it daily with a Cup of Joe.
The Coffee Spot was not just a small business located inside the Retail Marketing & Sales shop at DCTS. It could also be found at the intersection of two hallways where it was available during limited times. I was a loyal and repeat customer in search of inspiration, which was served up in an assortment coffee essentials. The daily menu determined the type of flavor I needed, and it was usually based on (1) the outcome of the day before or (2) the anticipation of the daily grind about to brew.
The machine – Each machine has buttons, which are tempting to press because the users are in search of a reaction. When pressed inappropriately, don’t engage – they want you to engage.
Mugs – you can’t always drink from the same mug because each flavor requires a different style. There are mugs that:
- keep the coffee above room temperature.
- have special instructions that, by law, require you to handle with care.
- have handles, which require you to lift them with caution based on the amount of liquid inside.
- are just right – you can lift them effortlessly and savor every sip.
Sometimes it is difficult to lose sight of the good combinations because the focus is on making the collection complete. Nonetheless, it is important to develop a relationship with each of your students.
Beans – these are fresh roasted and shipped daily to the front entrance of the school. The beans did not arrive grounded – in fact, some of them preferred it this way because when a bean is grounded it is ready to brew. There are some beans who reach a certain point in the process and – by their standards – they believe that their progress is good enough. When I inspected these beans I would contemplate, “Why don’t you want to be the best?” I never understood why…I perceived it as an internal conflict instead of a fact of life. You can’t take it personally.
Grounds – These are the elements of the process that can be used in other ways. After meeting the requirements necessary they need to know there is another fulfilling purpose for them such as compost. There are students in there who want to learn.
Refills – these are free, but the flavor is bittersweet. I would always drink a refill even if it took a while because it was difficult for me to realize that you are making a difference.
If I had to rate The Coffee Spot in a customer review I would check the box that says, outstanding. I would also write a nice letter to the owner and it would sound something like this: Thank you for the inspiration, Joe. You rock.