TITLE: Passion is a Heavy Burden AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 01, 2014 3:27 PM DESC: ----- BODY: Mark Guzdial blogged this morning about the challenge of turning business teachers into CS teachers. Where is the passion? he asks. These days, I wince every time I hear word 'passion'. We apply it to so many things. We expect teachers to have passion for the courses they teach, students to have passion for the courses they take, and graduates to have passion for the jobs they do and the careers they build. Passion is a heavy burden. In particular, I've seen it paralyze otherwise well-adjusted college students who think they need to try another major, because they don't feel a passion for the one they are currently studying. They don't realize that often passion comes later, after they master something, do it for a while, and come to appreciate it ways they could never imagine before. I'm sure some of these students become alumni who are discontent with their careers, because they don't feel passion. I think requiring all CS teachers to have a passion for CS sets the bar too high. It's an unrealistic expectation of prospective teachers and of the programs that prepare them. We can survive without passionate teachers. We should set our sights on more realistic and relevant goals: Curiosity is so much more important than passion for most people in most contexts. If you are curious, you will like encountering new ideas and learning new skills. That enjoyment will carry you a long way. It may even help you find your passion. Perhaps we should set similarly realistic goals for our students, too. If they are curious, professional, and competent, they will most likely be successful -- and content, if not happy. We could all do worse. -----