I'm still not through this podcast, but I just listened to their discussion of Teaching as one of the things an illustrator must have/do and had some thoughts to share, because I think I have a bit of a unique perspective and experience on this topic in particular.
I consider myself to still be barely starting my illustration career. I have only one client who regularly hires me for work and they're not even in my target industry... so I could argue that my career hasn't really started yet.
I just finished teaching my first official art class last week, and it was an awesome experience in many ways. And I feel like I was fully qualified to do it, too, despite my lack of work experience.
I understand why @Lee-White argued that you need '5 years of experience in the field' before becoming an official teacher. Like @Will-Terry implied, I think the problem is that he was defining "teaching" much too narrowly. I made the same mistake not very long ago.
You see, teaching art has long been a piece of my dream career. It's always been something that I've been interested in. For example, I read beginners How-To-Draw books even when I already know the basics of how to draw, just to see how they break things down and to discover new approaches. So not only doing art, but TEACHING art, is very interesting to me.
For a few years after graduating, I put off this piece of my dream career because I knew the "right" way to do it--I needed professional experience first! Who would want to learn from me otherwise? I looked at the classes and teachers at my college, here at SVS, and elsewhere and said, no way can I teach--I'm not near that level!
But last year I had this epiphany--Of course I'm not qualified to teach at the level of the classes I'm interested in taking. (Or even those I just barely completed!) The very reason I'm interested in taking them is that they are skills I have not yet mastered.
There are skills that I HAVE mastered that I CAN teach, which I am entirely qualified to teach. Classes that are completely off my radar because they teach skills I already have. Not only that, they are skills I believed that people would be interested in. Namely--the more basic foundational drawing skills.
So, I started looking for ways and means to teach an actual drawing class--not in just a hypothetical "wouldn't it be nice someday" kind of way, but trying to find a location (my home is too small), create an actual curriculum, etc.
I applied to teach through a nearby Continuing Education program like most school districts in the U.S. have. My proposed class outline was happily accepted ("We're always looking for more art classes to offer! People love them!").
Long story short, all 12 available seats for my Drawing Fundamentals class were filled. My original class outline was completely re-written as the class progressed. By the end of the class, every student was better able to draw what was in front of them than they had been when the class started. Interestingly, while their successes were gratifying, their mistakes were incredibly interesting and taught me more about why people have a hard time drawing what they see. (Which is why I would argue that @Jake-Parker 's "How To Draw Everything" isn't really an entry-level drawing course, its more like level 2, but that's a whole 'nother discussion.) And most of them asked me when my next class would be and what material would be covered, saying they would sign up when it became available.
So next semester I'm teaching Drawing Fundamentals TWO nights a week, and next fall I will also have a painting class available.
All this without "experience in the industry".
And really, this was more structured than teaching even needs to be. Even explaining a little bit of what you're doing to a stranger who watches you while out sketching counts as "teaching" in my book. Getting those processes out of your head into words that other people can understand is SO BENEFICIAL--to everyone involved. You will know those things better than you did before.
So I gotta agree with Will on this one. Teaching in some capacity--whether in the traditional way we usually think of or something much less formal--is important for improving your craft. I guess you probably get along without it--but its such a great short cut I don't know why you would want to.
And a tangental thought--
Who knows how long it will take me to "break in" to Childrens Publishing--it takes people years, decades even! I can send postcards and go to conferences etc etc etc, but I have a limited amount of control over when I'll first be hired by and Editor or AD. Why put all my career dreams on hold for something I have so little control over, when this is also something I want to do, which I also happen to have a LOT of control over? I CAN do it, so I am. No obnoxious gate keepers have to give me permission to do this--not even you and your 5 year rule, @Lee-White