To piggy-back what Happy had posted, here are some questions to avoid in thje first interview with a Principal.
1. What are the benefits? I have _________(do not share your medical problems). I need to make sure the benefits are suitable.
***Although I would never discriminate, I understand people have medical issues. This should be brought up on the second interview. There is also a benefit package given on the second interview; usually this means you will be hired.
2. I have to pick up my child from daycare. Do I have to stay until 4:30?
***This question is asked frequently. Yes, you must honor your contract hours. If you are unable to do so speak with the Principal, after employment, to discuss a plan.
3. How many days off do we get for holidays?
***This is in the master schedule, which is posted on the school's website. If a teacher fails to research the district, prior to being interviewed, it raises a red flag and suggests any teaching job is suitable. Principals look for teachers who want to work in the district, not people who "need" a job. This also suggests you are not willing to sign up for extra-curricular activities (soccer, basketball, cheerleading, etc.)
4. Do I get stipend pay for coming in early or staying late?
***This question suggests you aren't as dedicated to children. Many children need extra help with tutoring and yes, of course, you will get stipend pay. This question should be avoided in any interview. It's better to wait until you are asked to do extra if you want to get stipend pay. Most educators tutor in the mornings during their planning time; there is no extra pay for this. There is also not a requirement to do so, but Principals notice the hard work and dedication.
5. Will you back a teacher up if there is a problem? My last Principal never supported me.
***This suggests you are not a probem-solver. NEVER ask this question. Your applcation will be filed away, I assure you (complaining about your former Principal implies you like to gossp).
6. I need (___________) days off for religious purposes.
***Needing days off is fine, and normal; Principals understand this and expect such requests. No need to state it in the interview. You have personal days for such occasions. Wait until you are hired, then request them off. Anytime a teacher asks for days off, prior to being hired, will send a red flag to the Principal.
7. What is the plan for students who misbehave?
***Don't ask this.....application will be filed.
8. When is the first and last day of school?
***Again, this is posted on the school's website; research prior to interviewing. If there isn't a website, then this is an appropriate question. In turn, if there isn't a website, I wouldn't apply at the school....typically means less pay for teachers.
9. What's the salary?
***This is posted on the school's website. If it's a charter school, it won't be and the Principal should have the salary schedule. If he/she doesn't, it's a good indicator the pay is low.
10. I want to teach (____) grade, not (____) grade.
***If you are applying at an elementary school, understand you are being interiviewed for all grades and ths is subject to change upon your hiring. Let the principal know your strengths with certain age groups. A statement such as: "I am excited to teach the younger/ older learners" Provide evidence and you will most likely be put in the grade you want. Also, the majority of schools post the levels interviewed for.
I thought I would share this, as I have interviewed several teachers over the years. Make sure the Principal knows your passion for kids and always bring a portfolio, even if it's your first year. Portfolios of student work always leaves a great impression. Also, mention your management skills; they will always be asked. If you are unsure, and new to the field, check out "Teaching with Love and Logic" by Jim Faye or B.I.S.T. Love and Logic is the best and will definitely impress the Principal. Typically, B.I.S.T. must be implemented school-wide, so you must have another plan available if it's not.