This question has popped up a couple of times on my screen lately:Which is the more essential classroom skill set - subject matter and pedagogical expertise OR the ability to “manage” behavioral issues?
It's a trick question. The ability to "manage" a classroom is rooted in subject matter and pedagogical expertise.
If you have ever wrangled toddlers, you probably know this simple trick--always be moving toward something. When I'm out and about with the Board of Directors, it's a losing proposition to say, "Okay, time to stop jumping off that log." It is never time to stop jumping off that log, and saying that it is simply opens a whole debate about when, if ever, such an imaginary time could actually come to pass. Instead, the winning proposition is, "Okay, let's go look at fire trucks." Do that, and log jumping will end on its own.
In other words, always be moving toward something rather than away from something.
In teacher school, this concept is expressed as "Focus on what you want them to do, not what you want them to not do."
This makes many layers of sense. For one, the direction to stop doing something is always a step or two removed from your actual objective. Presumably you want students to "stop talking" for some reason, so why not move directly to the main thing you actually want-- look at this diagram or finish writing your sentences or tell me how this widget should be adjusted. So ask for that. "I'm not going to start class until everyone is quiet," is not the threat that you think it is.
But being able to move toward something requires you to have a firm grasp of what you want to move toward. Everyone has their favorite teaching metaphors; one of mine is thinking of teaching as helping students navigate a large territory, covered with forest and ponds and hills and any number of features. A teacher is a guide to that territory, and the better you know the territory, the better you can serve as a guide. You have to know what's there, the many ways to get from one point to another, and the various pitfalls that one might encounter.
What are you trying to teach, why are you trying to teach it, and how are you trying to teach it. Know the answers and push forward, keeping your eye on the target just like a driver keeps their eyes on the road.
It's not an easy balance to maintain. Push forward too fast and students are left behind. Too slowly, and they get bored waiting for you. Either way, issues will develop.
Really, classroom management is not like organizing activities for some strange alien race. Young humans have low tolerance for the same things as grown humans. Wasted time. Pointless activities. Demands for compliance for compliance's sake. Disrespect. These things draw out the contrary behavior in grown humans; why should young humans be any different?
Yes, there is a world of classroom management techniques that are worth knowing. But everything is rooted in Knowing What The Hell You're Doing, both in your grasp of content and your lesson design. This is why tying teachers to a script or a tightly defined program is a recipe for chaos, and that's why so many schools that do such tying team it up with a heavily enforced demand for student compliance, a heavy-handed attempt to beat down the problems that they have asked for in their instructional design.
Deep content knowledge. Sound instructional design. Respect. Those three pillars undergird the whole business of classroom management. They look different depending on the teacher and the students, but without any one of them, you'll simply be trying to right the structure with a patchwork of classroom management techniques and compliance demands.