Julie A. Cunningham

Academic Advisor

Education, Government, and Feet

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Creative Commons License photo credit: zayzayem

I’m happily ensconced in the Courthouse right now… when I’m not working from home or a coffee shop.

After investing so much time and energy in pursuit of Teacher Licensure, my career path took a rather radical shift. It wasn’t a drift, mind you, but a shift. Big difference.

The shift started with major education budget cuts.  When a friend in Australia told me that local Sydney radio stations were talking specifically about the financial situation of education in Colorado, I knew it was time to rethink.  That alone was enough, but a recent teen tragedy in our community made me reassess how much of my time was dedicated to my own children…. and not all the little ones at school. (The answer was not enough, in case you were wondering.)

So, I removed my name from the teacher preparation programs. I sat down and budgeted out my time each week- starting with the ‘big rocks’ first and filling in after.  At which point, I realized that I needed to work part-time. Not really an option in education. I shared my dilemma with a friend, laughingly saying that I needed a job of about 15 hours a week that makes use of all the educational technology stuff I have learned in the last few years.  The next day, she forwarded me a job listing for a Social Media & Web Intern in the Boulder County Commissioners’ Office supporting their Sustainability and EnergySmartYES programs. I started last Monday, right after I bagged up my computer lab, turned in my keys, and said my good-byes at school.

It’s been a whirlwind week.  I’ve spent more hours in meetings than I have actually working. I’ve met several dozen people.  I’ve learned that organizational charts are a beautiful thing. I’ve found that there’s not that much difference between education and government.  Or between government and education.

It’s comforting. It’s frightening. But that’s a story for another day.

Now, I find myself with one foot firmly in education. I have this wonderful personal learning network filled with amazing people in education and technology. I’ll be consulting part-time for a small independent school, Desiderata School,  this summer and fall.  This is still very much a part of me and my future.

My other foot? Well, that first education foot has given me the knowledge and experience to be a great asset in my new position.  I know the power of social media.  I understand the importance of making it about a conversation. I know how to use a CMS to create web content. I understand how to build on prior knowledge of WordPress to learn Joomla!. I’m frankly amazed at how well these parts of my life complement each other.

At some point, I think one of those feet is going to have to move to stay in balance.  But not now. For the time being, the two are complementary, rather than competitive.

And the rest of me?  Well, I my heart misses my young students, my mind is thrilled to be working solely with adults, my legs are sore from hiking trails with my children, and my hands are calloused and blistered from all the rowing I’m able to fit in my new summer schedule!

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One thought on “Education, Government, and Feet

  1. Best of luck! Sounds like you have got your priorities right!
    It’s good to have feet in different “places” – adds spice!