A recent blog post at the NCWIT blog reminded me why it is so very important for students to have teachers who are passionate about what they are teaching. Teachers with passion inspire students. They get students interested and even excited about what they are learning. Passion is what makes students decide to study more.
I observed a teacher for a while who taught both math (which he loved) and computer science (which he was not so enthusiastic about). The difference in the level of success between students in those different courses was amazing. Same teacher. Same brilliant mind. But a different level of enthusiasm meant different levels of results.
Too many high school teachers in CS (but not just in CS) are teaching about things they are not passionate about. Passion can not be faked. The reality is that many teachers are going to be forced to teach things that are outside their core interests. That doesn't mean the course has to be a failure though.
Good teachers will find a way to get more interested in what they are teaching and to make things more interesting for their students. It requires a little more work, a little more imagination, and maybe even a little acting ability. The best teachers make learning interesting, exciting and important. The teachers who do that well deserve our support and most of all our gratitude.