Have your text on a separate layer and lock the other layers while you are editing the type.
--"I could take the grid of lines on the files I'm working on and send them to back and lock them, but I am dealing with tens of thousands of files, and it's just not practical"
These are files that were created before I started at the company that I'm working on them for. It's just not-doable.
Select > Object > Text objects
Then create a new layer and move them there.
There is no good way to disable type on the path tool. There should be, it should be a separate subtool that never comes up automatically, or at least a setting to make it behave like that. Most instances of its usage are accidental.
Stopgap solutions involve locking or hiding objects, making sure your text objects are on top, and working more zoomed in than you want to.