- Classroom management. I will ask your principal or HD how you handle your band, because I NEED an assistant who can teach kids how to rehearse (I'm in a small school; my assistant runs the middle school and I"m a firm believer in "raise up a child in the way they should go...")
- Initiative. I need someone who can identify a problem and work on fixing it. I don't have time to spell out every step of every day. If it's wrong, I'll show you how to do it better, but I appreciate the effort and initiative
- Knowledge. I hire people who are strong where I am weak. I want someone who has the knowledge to address the problems. That was my forte as an assistant - I didn't know everything, but the things I was responsible for I knew (or learned quickly) very well.
For someone just graduating:
- What did you do besides class? Did you tech for someone? Were you in an organization? What kind and what did you do there?
- How did you student teaching go? I want to see someone who is taking initiative and really getting into being a part of the program as much as their CT will allow.
- What does your transcript look like? If it's spotless, awesome. See the first bullet here. If it's not, well, I don't mind if you've got a bad semester so much as I mind that you have a pattern of bad semesters. Everyone stumbles; I'm looking to see how you recovered.
As for the interview question, get it out of your head that there's a right and a wrong. Different hiring committees look for different things. Some want to hear that you're willing to voice concerns. Others want to hear that you're going to do whatever the HD says and keep your opinions to yourself.
If I were to give you some advice about that question, my answer would be:
Ask the HD why they do X the way they do nonconfrontationally. Seek to learn the why before you decide. If you don't then agree, ask if you can try it your way, or explain how you've done it in the past. IF they're amenable, try it out. IF they're not, let it go and file it under the "Things I'll Do Differently" tab for when you become the HD one day.