can i apply early decision to a med school (ie next summer) and then defer my acceptance for a year to be a teacher (for a total of 2 years of teaching)... if they accept me early decision will they allow me to defer for a year?
Deferring admission depends on what medical school you will be admitted to. Some do not permit derferral at all, some have a limited number of deferrals and only for what the medical school considers acceptable reasons, others are fairly generous with deferrals. Most will hold your position for a limited time within which you must tell them you are coming. Some have no problem if you want to reapply elsewhere, others have a strict policy of notifying AMCAS if you break the deal and you may be barred from reapplying anywhere the following year.
If you have a premedical advisor, she/he may have a manual (available exclusively to advisor members of the advisor professional association) which has information on policies for each school. Otherwise, you may have to call Admissions at any schools you are considering application to.
each med school has a different policy. i think EDP just binds you to the school--not the year. while most med schools will allow you to defer a year, two years is a lot tougher. some however, will accept 2 years if it is an "extraordinary circumstance," and usually those schools will consider something like the Peace Corps an extraordinary circumstance.
Teaching then, esp if it is part of some program (like teach for america or the nyc teaching corps) will probably qualify as well.