FC Hurdle Consulting https://fchurdleconsulting.com We can be better together. Fri, 24 May 2024 16:58:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.4.5 https://fchurdleconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/12/cropped-FC-Hurdle-New-Logo-2-1-32x32.png FC Hurdle Consulting https://fchurdleconsulting.com 32 32 Microaggressions: Ouch! https://fchurdleconsulting.com/microaggressu/ Fri, 24 May 2024 16:04:35 +0000 https://fchurdleconsulting.com/?p=2139 Microaggressions: Ouch! Read More »

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FC Hurdle Consulting (FCH) was invited to facilitate a professional development session on microaggressions with a group of educators. We experienced a variety of responses from some participants really leaning into the conversation, some questioning, and others wanting to detour to other topics. We know when discussing cultural awareness it can be uncomfortable for some. However, this is a predictable reaction that is seen as an opportunity to communicate and to keep a group forming around a touchy subject like cultural awareness together. During our interactive engagement, it became more obvious many in the room were very concerned that society is now hypersensitive on how comments can taken out of context. It is important to hear where people are so you can meet them there and provide opportunities to expand ideas towards another prespective.  For example, sharing with the group to be mindful of what is their intent with words, what is the quality of their relationship with students, and how well do you they know your students. If the relationship is healthy you may have a better chance of avoiding a microaggression and if you do say something off-track your the student maybe more likely to forgive you and show you some grace. Remember we are all human and will make mistakes, are you able to recognize the error, talk about it and work to move forward. These are basic steps one should be aware of.  It is with hope they continue their work in recognizing the cultural values students bring to the table some helpful and others harmful of which they are learning from family and society. We left the group with participant generated ideas on ways to counter microagressions and other microaggression resources to move towards a system of cultural awareness. For we reminded them that… “Microaggressions are a threat to communities that value cultural awareness.”

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Is Playing it Safe Always the Best Choice? https://fchurdleconsulting.com/is-playing-it-safe-always-the-best-choice/ Fri, 01 Mar 2024 04:46:03 +0000 https://fchurdleconsulting.com/?p=2116 Is Playing it Safe Always the Best Choice? Read More »

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“…in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 24:6

This message is for consultants, mentors, and colleagues who are working with school leaders who struggle to listen to suggestions. In your role, you can be an essential part of providing opportunities for the leader to be guided towards safety. As you already know educational leadership is a dynamic position. The research is clear about how effective principals can support the conditions for teachers to increase student achievement. However, this same role is also loaded with dangers. Whether it is attacks by teachers/unions, families, central office, community, or going “viral” on social media for some school-related snafu. The job is far from easy. So, your position as a mentor/consultant/colleague can provide the insight needed for the leader to safely navigate their environment. You can help the leader engage in thinking that can save their career or at least guide them to a safe landing if it is time to move on to a new school/district or career change. Now, all of this is predicated on working with a willing leader. As the trite saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink. However, despite the resistance sometimes experienced I still believe it’s worth trying to support people and remaining optimistic about the ability of people to change.  

TRRAC(Trust-Relationship-Reality-Approach-Cultural Awareness) is a framework to add to your toolkit as you engage the non-listening leader. It is designed as a self-reflection tool for you to sharpen your strategy as you enter into your role.

Trust- I have often heard trust takes time to develop and can end quickly if a perceived misstep is experienced.

Is it expected of you to report in detail the conversations you are having with the principal to the organization that hired you? If this answer is yes, stop here because there is a conflict of interest, and an unsafe environment is now created. For everyone else, let’s continue. Are you showing up in your role as a trustworthy person?  Any verbal or non-verbal cues coming from the leader that can inform you regarding how you are being assessed? 

Relationships- Folks who support leaders should value healthy relationships.

What do relationships mean to you? How do you utilize relationships to empower, build connectedness, and add value to the leadership capacity of the person you are assigned to?

Reality- Grounding your guidance in real life can be exactly what the leader needs.

Be aware that some consultants or assigned mentors sometimes can be more interested in submitting the invoice, having job security, or doing compliance-level work rather than discussing the uncomfortable actions and behaviors coming from the leader. Are you communicating what the leader “wants” to hear or “needs” to hear? Do have the interest or will to ask questions or make statements that point out areas of growth in the leader? How are you surfacing the leader’s realities? Possible sentence stems: How… or How___perceiving your leadership..  If the leader is transparent about their struggles, how do you move beyond compliance driven conversations, and pivot to probe more about their experiences? Playing it safe and avoiding the “real” stuff may work for you, but not necessarily for the career of the leader.

Approach- The approach can impact the outcome.

How does your personality impact your engagement with the leader? Are you familiar with emotional intelligence? If so, how do you apply it to the approach you are taking with the leader? How well do you listen to someone who is not an active listener? What resources do you have that you can refer to before, during, and after your connections? Who do you turn to for seeking feedback regarding how you are showing up in your role? When you consider the personality of the leader what is the best way to begin conversations that matter?

Cultural Awareness- “We can’t teach what we don’t know, and we can’t lead where we can’t go.” Malcolm X

It once said we carry ourselves wherever we go. So, who are you? How does your background/culture impact you in your role? What were the values taught to you by your family and the community during your youth? Which values are currently present in your professional life?  How do you identify yourself regarding race, gender, belief systems, etc.? What were you taught and continue to believe about different racial group(s)/other identities that the leader identifies with? How does your cultural background help or possibly become a barrier to your ability to be able to navigate a leader through the difficulties of the principalship? How are you surfacing the leader’s cultural values and how are these ways of being impacting their career? Is the leader culturally responsive to the socio political environment they are leading within?

As you move forward, remember you can be a part of the principal’s network that provides feedback to encourage professional safety. Of course, the choice is yours. This blog is crafted to be a catalyst for change so consider finding additional resources and experiences that can continue to build your abilities.

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Learning Inside and Outside the Fishbowl https://fchurdleconsulting.com/learning-inside-and-outside-the-fishbowl/ Wed, 27 Dec 2023 06:22:26 +0000 https://fchurdleconsulting.com/?p=1653 Learning Inside and Outside the Fishbowl Read More »

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When considering the concept of the “fishbowl,” it becomes apparent that it can manifest in more authentic ways than the traditional protocol suggests. The fishbowl protocol I have in mind involves a technique that encourages active participation and dialogue among students or participants. It entails forming a small group or inner circle of participants who actively engage in a discussion or activity, while a larger group or outer circle observes and takes notes. This is the basic format we are familiar with. However, in my opinion, if the fishbowl promotes active listening, critical thinking, and reflection, these experiences can also occur in informal settings.

Reflecting on my own experiences growing up in school and at home, I often found myself closely listening to groups of people discussing various topics. Whether it was an engaging conversation among friends in the school hallway or discussions in the homes of family members and friends that piqued my interest, I would actively listen. From these experiences, I gained wisdom, sometimes disagreed, and made decisions about what I would not do in life based on what I heard. In many of these instances, I served as a listener rather than a vocal participant. However, it is essential to acknowledge that individuals differ in their communication styles. Some dominate conversations and fail to listen to others, while others remain quiet during collective discussions, and some individuals exhibit a combination of both. 

As a teacher or leader, I believe it is crucial to have what I call “fishbowl awareness”. When a small group of students or a student and teacher engage in a conversation within a classroom setting, it is highly likely that other students are listening, and the person speaking becomes the “fish.” Therefore, it is essential to consider the information being conveyed to the community. Additionally, humans naturally gather inside and outside of fishbowls all the time, so we must consider the belief systems and values being communicated at both the individual and community levels.

Many fishbowls are made of glass, enabling transparency, but they are also highly fragile. So, how can we curate an environment that ensures the safety of the people (fish) within their container, while still allowing for clear visibility and the opportunity to learn from one another? This requires thoughtful consideration and intentional efforts to strike a balance between creating a safe space for open dialogue and providing a platform for growth and understanding.

Overall, the fishbowl concept extends beyond its traditional protocol and can manifest in various authentic ways. By promoting active listening, critical thinking, and reflection, we can foster meaningful dialogue in both formal and informal settings. As teachers or leaders, it is essential to be mindful of the impact our conversations have on the broader community and to create an environment that encourages transparency, while ensuring the safety and well-being of all participants.

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