I think I fear for our children's future... (and mine)
> I'm 30, and I am a technology teacher [and]
> I like Microsoft products and would head in that direction, probably.
Is that what you teach? I mean, I realize Microsoft is a HUGE company making billions and billions every year. Amazes me people STILL buy their crap. The software they produce has pretty much always been bloated, slow, buggy, and a complete waste of my time. Thus I don't use them anymore.
> Is it too late for me to think about this?
YES. Apparently so. Go learn UN*X. Try BSD, learn to love Linux. Understand UN*X compared to Windows. Once you do you'll laugh at Microsoft.
> What is the best way to get started on this path?
Go to http://linux.org/ -- click on everything. Download and install Ubuntu (just my choice