I’m currently working in an extremely competitive school district and was just turned down for a teaching contract I was certain I would receive. To be honest, I am at a loss, as I’ve been working as a permanent substitute in the same school for two years now (the prevailing advice for teachers trying to get their “foot in the door” in a new district). When I asked my Principal the reason he chose another applicant, he stated my content knowledge was “dated.” I graduated ten years ago and my last english teaching job was in 2005 so, yes, I guess I can see his point. (I relocated for marriage and had to take work wherever I could find it. Even the substitute job I have now was hard to get). The problem is– how do I fix the problem? Without a contract and health insurance, I cannot afford to go back to school. (I’ve tried three times, but could never manage afford it; and student loans are no longer an option). Work experience is not feasible, as I cannot even get an interview for other schools, because apparently they are not considering my substitute work as classroom experience. Relocation is not an option, nor is commuting, as the nearest school district is 100 miles away. Please, does anyone have advice for me? My references are impeccable. My classroom management skills and work experience (in special education, when I wasn’t teaching) are exemplary. I’m getting to the point now where I’m exhausted– working odd jobs to make ends meet, still struggling financially, working in a different (and usually the behaviorally worst) classroom every day, and being expected to appear enthusiastic and polished every time someone important wanders by. Furthermore, every year I spend substituting (instead of teaching English) seems to be setting me further and further behind. Please. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.