What I learned substitute teaching, day 3...
Today was in some ways better -- I know all the kids' names now -- and in some ways more difficult, since the kids know me better, also, and somehow concluded that it was OK to interrupt me every 3.5 seconds.
Eventually I realized that something must be done about that, and I drew an empty box on the board. We had about 5 minutes of material to get through, and every time someone interrupted me or spoke out of turn, I made a tally mark in the box.
These kids are not stupid. I admit I took some pleasure at seeing the discomfort and near fear on some faces: What are those marks for? What are you going to do when the box is full?
I explained I didn't know yet, that the purpose of the box was just to show them how often they interrupted me. By the time we reached the end of the material I wanted to cover, there were 22 tally marks, but the last 10 or so were made by one kid who tried his hardest to get kicked out of class all afternoon. (Dealing with that situation made the day seem very long.)
So now I feel I have a pretty good handle on this group of kids, and of course tomorrow is my last day with them. But that's OK, because all of this experience is invaluable.
By the end of the day my voice was giving out, and my feet were killing me. In spite of that, though, I'm loving this, way more than I expected to. It's pretty awesome to have a job that I really love. I can't say I've ever had one before, at least not one that earned any money.