Not everyone is cut out to be a teacher. It's a demanding job, summers off or not, and it helps to like kids. However, there are many instances when students can really benefit from teachers who have worked in private industry. This isn't the old adage, those who can do, those who can't teach. Rather, many people (like me) decide for a variety of reasons to begin teaching after working outside of education.
Programmers, scientists, researchers, mathematicians, business owners, entrepreneurs, project managers, and countless other professionals can bring remarkable amounts of education and experience to the table if they begin teaching. Yet certification requirements in many states dictate post-graduate study in education, regardless of experience or expertise.
I'm a couple months from completing my masters degree in math, worked as a statistical programmer for several years at a university and in private industry, and also really happen to enjoy teaching. I've also been teaching at the high school level for 5 years. Yet the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in its infinite wisdom, requires that I now complete several thousand dollars of additional coursework just to move from a preliminary to an initial license (never mind the professional license to which my masters program would entitle me).
Unfortunately, licensure requirements such as these ignore experience and education and serve as barriers, keeping talented individuals from teaching our kids. Even more unfortunate is that these barriers disproportionately affect math, science, computing, and business, all of which have been identified as areas of weakness in this country.
International readers, as well as readers from states with more progressive requirements, how do your countries/states/regions/provinces/whatever recruit talented teachers who may not have formal backgrounds in education?