We're coming to the season where potential grad students are contacting people they might like to work with and a trend is starting to develop for me. Between last year and this year, almost all of the inquiries about the lab have been from either students about to graduate from their undergrad or people who are currently (or heave recently been) teachers in high school or grad school. It has been particularly noticeable this year, but once I noticed the trend I realized that all of my current students fall under one of these categories as well. So what gives?
My guess is that the people who go into teaching and then on to grad school decide that even if they enjoy teaching at their pre-grad-career level, they eventually want to teach at the college level. On the other hand, I also know of cases where teachers find out they hate teaching and go to grad school in order to take their careers in a different direction. I'm sure there's no cookie-cutter reason, but I've been surprised by the prevalence of a teaching career on many applicant CVs.
However, my question for readers is whether they would prefer someone with teaching experience over an applicant right out of school? Obviously, this is highly candidate specific, but given roughly equal CVs and no perceptible difference in attitude, is there a preference for one over the other? I'll keep my opinions to myself for the moment.