Good luck with your Masters. It's something I've considered before. Keep us updated with how it goes and whether you think us worthwhile. I've heard other teachers who've work in 'industry' before teaching saying something similar to you. I believe there are some teachers who are sheltered from reality but I believe this will die out. I worked all through my degree and PGDE in a variety of jobs and almost full-time for most of the time. I made more friends in my workplaces than at uni and felt very much in touch with the 'real world.' I think my experience is now much more common, and will be the case for more and more students as living costs continue to rise. I don't think a 'break' from education is necessary (except for the lovely, long summers of university days which many use to work more hours to save up for the next term). Making it a requirement would certainly reduce competition for jobs. I'm not sure we'd necessarily be left with the best teachers though.