When do people listen to podcasts? I must not have the right set-up in my home, because it never seems that I can do laundry while listening to a podcast. Are people just sitting around staring at the radio like they did when it was first invented?
The only time I get to listen is when I am in the car — and I have intentionally gotten in my car to drive around and listen to a podcast. I mean, Serial Season 1 people. It was riveting! Luckily, I have returned from a recent car trip in which we were able to listen to hours of podcasts! There are so many good ones, it was hard to choose. I lean toward more serious or educational ones, but my husband kept asking me to find a funny one which proved difficult. (I’ll take suggestions!)
What we did hear were several episodes of RadioLab and its companion A More Perfect. I’ll have more to share on that in a later blog for sure. Fascinating stuff, but today I want to explain the epiphany I had while listening to a Freakonomics episode on Trader Joe’s.
You know Trader Joe’s right? That new small grocery store off Western which has tons of devoted fans. The episode of Freakonomics delved into what makes it such a financially successful company and what about it draws people to a devotion that borders on fanaticism.
One of the reasons for its success is a paradigm shift about how staff interacts with the customers. The analogy the reporters used brilliantly opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about how teachers and students interact.
In their story, they lead off by explaining the all too often cited adage that everyone has a tough time at the department of motor vehicles, and they attributed it to this us vs. them notion that the staff seems to have. It’s almost like they take great pleasure in telling you how wrong your documents are and how dumb you are for not already knowing this and no you cannot get your license renewed today — ah ha ha ha ha!!!
Trader Joe’s is apparently different. Freakonomics explained that they have a culture wherein the customer and the store clerk are on the same side. What??? It seems obvious; I want food, they want to sell me food. But they’ve taken it to an art form, even hiring a certain kind of Chatty Kathy to engage with you while you shop.
This made me think of how we could apply this attitude to improve our schools. How would our students perform if all our teachers adopted this attitude of teamwork: I want to teach you stuff, and you want to learn it?
Give me your thoughts, and I’ll continue the story next week.