A cup of Joe. Brew. Java. Coffee.
I occasionally see a meme in which the author states that he or she drinks a lot of water. Filtered water. Water filtered through coffee grounds. Okay, coffee. I chuckle every time.
Coffee. It’s a thing.
I just finished my last cup for the day while pondering my post for this afternoon. As I tipped it back, I started to think about the impact coffee has on the people who mean the most to me, especially my students, of all people.
With my wife, it’s a daily ritual, a time in which we sit and talk.
With our adult daughters, it’s an event they’ve grown to enjoy, an element of their relationship with “the parental units.”
On a daily basis, though, it’s a connection with my students. It’s part of who I am. My shtick, even. I regularly have students whom I barely know (as a STEM coach, I’m in a lot of classrooms) come up to me and ask, “Mr. Gels, where’s your coffee!?”
Coffee lets my students know I care for them. I regularly tell them how much I love it, even more than 3rd graders (or whatever the grade I’m with). When I ask if they believe me, my tone tells them to answer no, and I get to tell them they’re right…but, wow, do I love coffee.
Coffee is a connection. “Mr. Gels, my mom loves coffee, too.” “Mr. Gels, you’re like my dad; he drinks a lot of coffee.” It gives me something to talk about with other teachers, as well.
Coffee gives the opportunity for think time–something that I oftentimes struggle with. I’ll let a question hang while I search the room for my mug. I usually find it as the maximum number of hands are up.
Coffee lets me redirect attention. If someone embarrasses themselves or a situation gets awkward…I need to find my cup, and I need everyone to look around to help.
You’ll never guess what my most common Christmas/end-of-the year gift is. Or, maybe you will.
How, some people wonder, do I drink so much coffee? There are, I confess, two parts to my secret. First, most of the coffee I drink is lukewarm, but not quite cold–it takes a long time for me to drink a cup.
The other part (shhhh): Decaf.