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Teaching the 'Chipotle' Way… Turn up the Heat!

I am not a big fan of fast food. Every time I take a moment to indulge, it costs me a pound or two! This may not sound like much, but it adds up over time and it just isn’t worth it.

If I do decide that I need a quick meal however, one place I like to frequent is Chipotle.  Although they provide a meal that I can get quickly, they do not offer the low quality of other fast food chains.  In my opinion, they provide food fast, NOT fast food!

As teachers, we can learn from how Chipotle has changed the face of fast food forever, and steal a few key ideas that have been the secret to their success to implement into our teaching.

Three Ways to Teach the “Chipotle” Way

Customize Learning

When a customer walks into a Chipotle restaurant they are presented with different choices.  The choices are simple, and people can customize their food in any way they like.  The meal is completely centered around the tastes and preferences of the person who will be consuming it.   This is what has made Chipotle so successful.  They give people a customized experience every time they come into the restaurant.

When a student walks into the classroom, imagine the impact and learning that would occur if the lessons were customized to them.  Although it is not always feasible to individually prepare a lesson for each student, it is possible to design it with them in mind if they are given the opportunity to be a part of the process. Our goal as teachers should be to completely center the learning around the people who will be consuming the information. When students are the heroes of the story, the teacher becomes the guide who imparts the wisdom that helps them succeed.

Try This Action Step:

Take the time to hold a weekly ‘Meeting of the Minds’ session! Plan at least one day a week where you meet with your students and plan together. Give them the chance to evaluate you and let you know how they feel the class can improve. Then make the changes needed to meet their needs. Layout the concepts or skills that will be taught in the next unit, and allow students to give input on the strategies to use that will suit them best in their learning.  Allowing them to brainstorm ideas will cut down on your planning time, and in turn will help you meet their needs more effectively.  It’s a win/win!

Keep it Fresh

Chipotle has a mission to deliver “food with integrity’ to each customer.  They do this by finding the best ingredients they can and preparing them by hand.  Their first priority is making sure that they deliver quality without cutting corners.  By keeping things fresh, offering quality every day and focusing on the integrity of their product, they build a sense of pride among those who work there and a bond of trust with their consumers.

As teachers, our first priority must be the quality and integrity of the ‘product’ we are serving to our students in order to earn their trust.  They deserve to have the best possible experience every time they enter our classrooms. By keeping things fresh and new, you will not only inspire your students to learn, but YOU will be recharged, energized and excited to teach as well.  By ‘teaching fresh’ each day, you will avoid lessons going stale, cutting corners and the ‘freezer burn’ we so often find happening to teachers. Approach your teaching with integrity and keep things fresh each day, so your students develop the love for learning you set out to help them achieve.

Try This Action Step:

Be committed to ‘Delivering Fresh Ingredients’ each week! Each time you pull out a lesson or skill you have taught in the past, find a NEW ingredient to add to it!  I like to have a checklist of tech tools, ideas from students (from our ‘meeting of the minds sessions) and concepts I am dying to try in class next to me when I plan.  I usually see which tool, idea or concept will enhance the lesson best and I implement it.  Having the checklist really helps to save on time while planning and makes it a lot less stressful when it comes to adding new things to lessons!

Know your Purpose

When Chipotle opened its first restaurant in 1993, the idea was simple: show that food served fast didn’t have to be a “fast-food” experience.  Over the years, even though Chipotle has grown and expanded, they have remained true to their purpose.  They continue to stand out amongst their competitors simply because they refuse to sway from their initial intended goal. 

Before we can truly impact those we teach, we must first understand our purpose or our ‘why.’ Why are we doing what we are doing each day?  By identifying our reason for teaching, we create an anchor that keeps us grounded when even the toughest waves come crashing down. As a teacher, your journey will be filled with obstacles, frustrations and stress, but it will also be overflowing with joy, satisfaction and love.  In order to overcome the low points you face and reach the highest of highs, you must determine your WHY and remain true to your initial intended purpose. 

Try This Action Step:

Create a “WHY Checklist” and post it near your work area where you can see it each day.  Come up with anywhere from 5-10 reasons WHY you became a teacher.  You may just find that most of these reasons (if not all) will have very little to do with the curriculum you teach and very much to do with making a difference in the lives of students.  Be specific in your list and take the time to really identify your WHY.  Taking the time now to create this list, and posting in clear sight, may just help you through the toughest times you face later!

QUESTION: What are some ways YOU teach the “Chipotle Way?” Leave a comment by CLICKING HERE

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