Nancy Flanagan thinks career-changers have much to contribute to the teaching profession, but she objects to the view held by some that teaching is a kind of "missionary work," or an altruistic stint akin to the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders. Despite its idealism, Flanagan says, that attitude ultimately doesn't do the profession any good:
When we portray teaching as a starter job, an interesting thing to do before graduate school or after retirement, a particular form of occupational charity, we marginalize both its intellectual challenge and its social impact. Teaching should never be seen as a step-down career, nor should choosing to teach doom someone to second-income status. Shouldn’t teachers-for-life be able to own homes, support families and take vacations?
One would certainly hope so. ...