Do you write computer programs for fun? Many of the best teachers I have known “do what they teach” for fun and not just because it is part of their job. I knew a math teacher who factored Prime numbers in his head and really got a kick out of the fact that his license plate was a six digit Prime. Just about every art teacher I have ever known spent a lot of their free time creating art. You probably know an English teacher who is working on the next great American novel or a collection of poetry in their spare time. And what about the History teacher who spends their summer vacation visiting historical sites? I know a science teacher who moonlights as a professional meteorologist. Their love of their discipline makes what they teach more than just a job. Do you think this enthusiasm is noticed by their students? Of course it is. It’s part of what makes them great teachers.
My friend Tom Indelicato is a great high school computer science teacher who happens to really like to write code. And he’s good at it too. He writes about a recent project at his blog. There was a need for some software at his school. Not a particularly complicated piece of software but it had to be easy to use, reliable and meet the needs of the business of the school. The school had tried a trial version of some software that almost met their needs. Tom could have just suggested that the school buy a full version of the software and things would have been ok. Not great but OK. And Tom would not have had to do any work on the project at all. But Tom likes to write code so he wrote a program that really meets the schools needs. A case study he can use with his students? Possibly. But clearly the process he went though as he developed this program in his spare time can easily serve as an example to his students. But more than that Tom’s students can see the love he has for the field.
BTW Tom also likes to write game programs in his spare time. He’s my kind of teacher.
Do your students see your love for the subject in you? How?