Plenty of people dream of leaving their jobs to become teachers. Today, more people are doing it. Peter Vos ran an Internet startup. Now he teaches computer science to middle-schoolers in Maryland. Jaime McLaughlin used to do people's taxes. Now he teaches math to sixth-graders in Chicago. Alisa Salvans was a makeup artist at Saks department store. Now she teaches high-school chemistry in suburban Dallas.
These teachers, with real-life experience and often with deep knowledge of their subjects, are answering a call to service that is part of a strategy to boost the size and quality of the teaching work force. Career-switchers make up about one-third of the ranks of new teachers, and that number has jumped in the past decade.