How a Cup of Coffee Made Me a Better Teacher

Photo by Tehmina Mirza

By Tehmina Mirza, Community Engagement Assistant & Instructor

Coffee can be a great motivator, especially as a teacher. A hot cup can warm you up on a cold day. It can give you the jolt you need to teach enthusiastically. It can even get you through those sometimes sleepy afternoon classes. But a couple weeks ago, I found that coffee helped me in a completely unexpected way.

A couple months ago, a new restaurant called Hälsa opened up in our neighborhood, in the Brookland area of D.C. Along with local natural food, they serve my favorite specialty coffee, Madcap, and I always ask for homemade almond milk to mix in. I’ve been to Hälsa almost every day, either in the morning or for an afternoon pick-me-up with my Byte Back coworkers.

A couple weeks ago, when I came in for my coffee, a Hälsa employee had the almond milk ready for me before I even asked. The customer service (and the almond milk) put a smile on my face.

That small gesture got me thinking and considering my position as a teacher with Byte Back as a sort of customer service. Essentially, that’s what we are doing – offering a service to the community. That community has started small, centered in the Brookland neighborhood, and expanded throughout D.C.

Bringing that personal, small neighborhood feeling to every class I teach can really make the class experience special for my students. Since this illuminating coffee experience, I’ve been looking at teaching with a customer service lens, which has already made me a more attentive, patient, and effective teacher.

Thanks to Hälsa for the coffee, almond milk, and inspiration!

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