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Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated May 27, 2014
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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Newark, NJ

The process took 2 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2008.

Interview Details – The interview process for Teach for America is fairly long and involved, but it is worth it. There are four rotating deadlines throughout the year. First there is a written application, which involves all of the normal personal information, your school transcripts, a letter of intent, and a short essay. There is a lot of emphasis throughout the interview process on overcoming obstacles and how you deal with obstacles and stress. If you passed the written interview, you will be notified in about a week that you have made it to the phone interview phase. Several articles will be available to read online, and your phone interviewer will ask you to discuss them. My interviewer also asked me how I have worked with others in past situations (including people that I did not get along with) and asked me to discuss another situation in which I was working on a project and faced a challenge. We discussed the reasons that I was applying, my views on the achievement gap, and what I thought the reasons for the gap are. They said to expect the phone interview to be about half an hour, but mine was around 50 minutes. About a week after the phone interview, I was notified that I had made it to the final in-person interview. There were many dates and locations to choose from, and this was all done online. Before the final interview, there was more assigned reading and I also had to rank my choices of the regions throughout the country. On the interview day, the morning consisted of a sample teaching session for 5 minutes (be sure to state what your goals are and interact with the other interviewees, who are your "class") as well as small group activities. Then we did individual interviews in the afternoon. The notification day was not for about 6 weeks after my final interview, so the overall process was about two months from the time that I first applied to the day I received my offer. They will offer you a region and a tentative grade level assignment, and you have to take what you get-- no negotiating!

Interview Question – Describe a time that you were working on a project with a specific goal, and you encountered an obstacle. How did you deal with the situation?   Answer Question

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
San Francisco, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2008.

Interview Details – The process required quite a bit of preparation, including pre-interview reading materials and preparing a 5 minute presentation. The process of the online application resembled that of an undergraduate school application. This was followed by a 30 minute phone interview and then a 6 hour, all-day, one-on-one interview.

Interview Question – The interviewers create a scenario and the interviewee is expected to take on the role of a teacher who is bargaining with his/her principal for classroom materials.   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Potential corps members are able to negotiate placement locations across the country, as well as the general teaching age one would like to be with.

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Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2010.

Interview Details – The process begins with an online application that is pretty long. I think they focus on leadership skills, your ability to overcome adversity, and your mindset/rationle behind applying for this program (this is explained in one of the essays you need to write for the application). If you move past the online application, you will be schedule a phone interview (ex question: why do you think some parents aren't involved in their child's education). If selected to move on to the final interview day, you will take part in an all day in person interview that includes a sample lesson plan, testing, group discussions on prior reading, and a 1:1 interview where we had to role play a given situation, in addition to answering regular questions.

Interview Question – Can you give an example of a time when you experienced conflict with a supervisor or co-worker? How did you address this situation?   Answer Question

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Raleigh, NC

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2010.

Interview Details – We had to first complete a lengthy application. It included a cover letter and a resume along with different questions. Then we had to complete an online activity that included reading articles and answering questions dealing with different situations.
The in person interview took about a day and included group activities and discussions as well as a sample lesson.

Interview Question – Why do you want to be in this organization?   Answer Question

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Interview process begins with submitting an online application. The application focuses on leadership and mindsets about the achievement gap. Some applicants are selected for a phone interview, and others are moved straight to an in-person interview. I completed a phone interview, where the interviewer asked questions about my resume and about my basic qualifications for the job. The in-person interview is a day-long process involving a group activity, teaching a short lesson, and a one-on-one session.

Interview Question – TFA loves role-playing activities. Be able to think on your feet, and be sure you're grounded in what you believe about kids, parents, communities, etc. that you're planning to serve.   Answer Question

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – The interviews are wonderful experience to see what the Teach For America culture is like. It is an intense process, much like the job will be if you are chosen. The phone interviews can seem a bit awkward, but that only makes the unperson interview seem much more natural. Preparing a mock lesson can seem intimidating at first, but the key is confidence and interaction.

Interview Question – During the phone interview I was asked what the most difficult class I've taken in college was and how I handled it.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – You do not get to negotiate with TFA

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Declined Offer

Positive Experience

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

Interviewed at Teach for America

Interview Details – First you submit your application, which is pretty straight forward. Then you have the phone interview and a test online. The phone interview is rather basic, they just ask you typical interview questions. Basically explaining your resume to them. The "test" is just a few logic questions. The last step is the 5 minute lesson plan, group activity, and the in person interview. For the 5 minute lesson, just practice and pick something you are familiar with. Most importantly, MAKE IT FOLLOW THE FORMAT OF AN ACTUAL LESSON, and MAKE IT CREATIVE! You really need to display that you know the format of a lesson plan. For the group activity, be assertive but not too aggressive. Make valid points, don't talk for the sake of talking. And the final interview only took me about 25 minutes, they ask how you would ask the principal for field trip funding, etc. I walked away convinced I didn't get the job because the interview was so standardized I couldn't tell what he thought of me.

Interview Question – How would you convince a principal for funding for a field trip?   View Answer

Reason for Declining – TFA couldn't guarantee me placement in a SPED classroom, so I decided to go the traditional route of becoming a teacher.

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Claremont, CA

I applied through other source and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2013.

Interview Details – TFA is very transparent. Prior to my phone and in-person interview, I studied their website and mission diligently (TFA recommends doing this.) I also went online and looked for suggestions as to how best to prepare for the phone and in-person interview. I would highly recommend preparing several (maybe 3 to 4) vignettes that highlight your leadership abilities. It may even be good to detail a time when you struggled or even failed to accomplish a goal. However, if you choose to include a vignette of this type, be sure to make clear the lessons/principles you took away from that experience and how it may have helped you to approach similar situations.

Interview Question – TFA is pretty transparent about their interview process. Though, little information is given regarding the actual questions they might ask, they do provide several suggestions in follow-up e-mails about how to tackle and prepare for the interview.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – At first I was placed in a region far from home, but I was able to get a regional transfer. Keep in mind, that my situation is not typical. TFA states that their offers are usually final. The placement team works to place you in one of your preferred regions, but they necessarily have to do so within the contexts of regional/employer needs i.e. if you lack significant coursework in the science or math, it will be difficult for them to place you in the Bay Area , as this region is in need of teachers competent in that subject.

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Declined Offer

Neutral Experience

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – Began with the online application and essays, from there moved to a phone interview and then a full day final interview that consisted of a sample lesson teach, group discussion and one on one interview.

Interview Question – What is a policy you did not agree with, but were expected to follow?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – The location I was matched with was not my first choice.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – The application is lengthy and requires a lot of jumping through hoops. If they like what they see on paper, you get a phone interview. If you pass that, you advance to a final interview day where you complete an activity in a small group, delivery a demo lesson to that group, and do a one-on-one interview.

Interview Question – Why Teach for America in particular?   Answer Question

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