A friend - Tom Turner - recently blogged about a conversation with a friend of his and her new interest, a Marine. The blog was about his opinions on everyone serving in the military. You can read it by checking out Tom's blog.
My pet peeve that relates to education is when I go to a conference and they have a booth filled with sales people telling me what I need in my district or classroom. Then I start talking to them and find out that they don't have any educational experience! Then when companies start hiring to fill sales/trainings and product development positions, they scoff at a teacher's application. If you're going to be in the business of education - be in the business of education! (Pssst, you won't find that at Tech4Learning, Scholastic or netTrekker by the way. The gang from Tech4Learning has many talented teachers on board, I've met Kathy and Mark from Scholastic - both former teachers in California, and netTrekker is blessed with some great content editors who were former classroom teachers. A nice mix of business and education - which works even more! And they till have their pulse on education, which counts for even more! )
Have you ever read the book "The Skin I'm In"? In there, there's a teacher that is actually from the business world and is taking a leave of absence to teach for a year. She realizes how hard it is to do the job with the tools given to her and how most of the students (and teachers) are unmotivated. I know this was not the point of the book, but I enjoyed that aspect. What I'd like to see is more companies "sponsoring" teachers or encouraging qualified people to take a year off and teach. Politicians especially.
And actually, since high schools are in semesters, that would work even better. They could teach just a semester class on Government and Econ or a scientist could teach an advanced science class. They could even teach half a day if needed. (Even Harry Potter did this! I know it's because the Defense Against the Dark Arts Position was cursed, but still it kept things fresh.) There are many ways this could work. And MAYBE the teacher shortage wouldn't be so short after all.
Because after those experiences I'm sure we'd either have turned them into lifelong educators or they would push for better funding of schools.