Teach for America
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www.teachforamerica.org New York, NY 150 to 499 Employees

Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 14, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting the Interview 

50%
43%
4%

Interview Experience 

89%
9%
1%

Interview Difficulty 

68 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Williamsburg, VA

The process took 6+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2012.

Interview Details – Submitted application and bypassed phone interview. Interview day consisted of a presentation, group conversation, and 1:1 interview. The interviewers spent most of the time taking copious notes on every word said. 1:1 interview last about 45 minutes and included going over resume and small role play. Was less of a conversation; interviewer wrote down almost every word said. Interviewers were friendly and the interview was not stressful. However, my perception was that TfA continues to be all about "drinking its own KoolAid." Received and declined offer.

Interview Question – How would you talk to a principal about starting a new club?   Answer Question

Reason for Declining – Go find out more about TfA -- I had a lot of problems with their politics.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

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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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Charlotte, NC

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2010.

Interview Details – I was contacted by Teach for America during my senior year in college. I had a brief phone interview with a recruiter and was encouraged to submit my application. A week after submitting my application, I was notified that I had advanced to the final interview round (I've heard that if TFA wants you, they will bypass the phone interview). Before the final interview, I completed an online assignment about various situations that I might encounter as a corps member. Although the final interview can be tricky because of the mini-lesson you are required to present, they were very straightforward about what the interview process entailed. My interviewers and fellow interviewees were driven, pleasant, and intelligent. There is a skills test that requires that you analyze data, but it's nothing too difficult. During the 1:1 interview, my interviewer took notes the entire time; don't be alarmed by this since all their hiring decisions are made centrally. I heard back from them on the date that they had specified at the beginning of the interview process, and I accepted the offer during the following week.

Interview Questions

Negotiation Details – No negotiation. You are assigned to a region and a subject/content area.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Denver, CO

I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in January 2010.

Interview Details – After uploading a detailed resume, including all classes and grades from college, and a letter of intent and essay, potential corps members must pass a phone screen asking general questions related to the organization's mission statement of closing the achievement gap. Especially strong candidates sometimes skip the phone screen all together and go straight to an in person interview. The in person interview takes all day, usually off site (i.e., not at your college campus.) This interview consists of a short sample lesson (so interviewers can see your presence in front of people), a panel interview, a group simulation (to screen your dynamics working with others), a role-play scenario (to see how you respond to situations in which you would have to be persistent and professional), a debrief of the role play, and a one-on-one interview in which you talk a lot about leadership experience, how you respond to adversity, and your attitudes toward education and low income communities. If you are a fit, you will be contacted on a certain date which you know ahead of time with your region, grade, and subject area placement.

Interview Question – Your school principal is refusing to let you hold an additional tutoring session that your students desperately need because there is a pep rally. What do you say?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Boston, MA

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2011.

Interview Details – Applied and invited to phone interview. After phone interview, invited to Final Interview. Final Interview consisted of a group of about 15 candidates in a room with a Selector. Each applicant has to teach a 5 minute sample lesson on a topic of their choosing, and then there are several group activities that are looking for your to shine as a leader. The day ends with a 1-on-1 interview with the Selector for 15 minutes. It is a long day, but it is generally exciting.

Interview Question – You're a teacher, and you want to take your students on a field trip, but your principal says no. What do you do and how do you navigate this situation?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – Please please please, I urge you to apply before the 5th deadline! If you apply for the 5th deadline, you are going to be forced to do everything required to matriculate in a whirlwind period. You won't have any time to make adjustments, and it is very easy to get mistreated and knocked around if you join that late. Please, apply for an earlier deadline!

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2 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Houston, TX

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2010.

Interview Details – I received first contact with Teach for America from a on campus recruiter who strongly encouraged me to apply based off my leadership endeavors during undergrad. The first step was to fill out an online application which consisted of basic questions, a two page essay, and a resume.

Around a week and a half later, I received an email requesting a phone interview. During the phone interview, they asked basic behavioral questions (tell me about yourself, name a time you lead a group, etc.) as well as to discuss some articles about education that were emailed to you prior to the interview. They seemed to value your opinion about the articles pertaining to the disparity in education so there was no right or wrong answer, just be sincere.

About a week and a half later, I received an email asking me to log onto the Teach for America system and select which regions/cities that I would prefer to work in. You can select up to 3 or 4 or select an option to be placed based on need. Note: they try to place you based on preference but also in correlation to their need. Also, slots do not fill up in cities based on how early you apply. There will be spaces in ALL markets whether your applying in the first, middle, or last cycle. Finally, you have the best chances of being placed by marking no preference but they do not hold it against you if you select a city preference. You can also indicate a reason for selecting your city of choice (for example a spouse receiving a job offer in a particular region, sick family member, proximity to home, etc.). Accommodations can be met if you are selected during this time. Also, this is the time that you choose your grade level preference (elementary, middle, or high school). The same rules apply with grade level, courses (if applicable) as city placement. During this time, you are also asked to select up to 3 people to serve as your recommenders for the program. Make sure you find someone who will speak highly to your character and abilities

About two weeks later, I received another email stating that I progressed to the next round of interviews that consisted of a panel interview. The interview would consist of a one-on-one in person interview with another regional recruiter as well as a panel interview to which you were to construct a 5 minute teaching assignment to teach to the other people interviewing as well as team building and group assignments to see how you worked within a team. The entire event lasted roughly a half to full day (depending on how early you arrived to sign up for your interview after the panel interview). With the teaching assignment, I found it best to be yourself but also be creative if possible when teaching (think would I be engaged if I were a student in my classroom).

Finally, around two weeks later, you will receive an email notification whether or not you were accepted into the corps, which region you will be located it, and what grade level (or grade level range ) and subject you will be teaching. You will also be contacted by your regional head who will personally introduce you to the corp and be an aid to help you make the decision on whether to accept the offer.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Everyone was very friendly and the program goes out of their way to recruit and effectively train you so that your prepared and just not thrown to the wolves.

Interview Questions

  • Name a time where you served in a leadership role?   Answer Question
  • Name a time where you had to work with a group of people who you didn't see eye to eye on?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Jacksonville, FL

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2008.

Interview Details – First I was contacted by a recruiter. After several emails and meetings I decided to apply. After applying I was moved on to the phone interview. The phone interview was 30 minutes long, and asked questions about how many difficult situations I had been in, and how I handled them. Then I was moved to the final all-day interview. The all day interview consisted of teaching a lesson, a written part, a group situation part, and finally a one on one interview.

Interview Question – Have you ever had to work with a boss you didn't get a long with?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – None

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
San Jose, CA

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

Interview Details – First applied online and had to write an application essay stating why I wanted to join TFA. Next I participated in a phone interview where I was asked questions about my organization skills, professional background etc. I was invited to participate in the final in person interview which includes presenting a 5 minute sample lesson plan, participating in some group activities, taking a small skill/data analysis quiz, and finally a one on one interview. The sample lesson plan was pretty straight forward. Remember to engage your "students" and find a way to check students for understanding. 5 minutes passes really quickly, so don't try to teach more than the time allots. The group activity and individual quiz are pretty straight forward, just be sure to participate and present your idea clearly in both. The individual interview was really comfortable and conversation flowed nicely. Expect typical interview questions - the type you can pull off of any interview prep website, also expect teaching related questions (since this is for a teaching position). Everything is really quite straight forward as long as you take time to think about typical interview questions. Keep in mind, they want to invite everyone who qualifies to become a corps member, so you're not competing with the other interviewers, everyone wants you to succeed.

Interview Questions

Negotiation Details – There were no negotiations since salary is paid by the school district you are hired with, not TFA.

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Boston, MA

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

Interview Details – Phone interview had questions such as: how do you stay organized? What is a challenge you have faced? Have you ever led a group? As long as you make sure you represent yourself as someone who cares deeply about their mission statement, core values goals, etc., you should be accepted for the final interview.

Interview Question – How do you stay organized?   Answer Question

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5 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2008.

Interview Details – I was attracted to Teach for America for many reasons--a chance to make an immediate difference, the challenge, chance to move across the country, free masters degree, alumni network, grad school applications--and recruited by Teach For America to be a recruiter myself. Thus, I had already worked as a Campus Campaign Coordinator at the University of Southern California for almost 4 months before applying.

Essentially, make sure that you do research on education inequity, the progress that Teach For America has made, and that you're joining the movement for the right reasons. The application process is becoming more competitive, and it boils down to qualified people are turned away because they don't have the knowledge about or drive to fix education.

Draft responses to address the following issues: a difficulty you have overcome, a success story despite obstacles, your understanding of public education. Avoid generalizations and statements about education that you cannot quantify or speak for personally.

Also, make sure you do at least one test-run of your lesson plan with someone who has taught. They will offer excellent advice of how to clarify your instruction.

Interview Question – I had to role-play a situation where my principal would not allow my students to take home library materials in order to finish research for their term papers (4th grade... I was being ambitious. ;-)

My goal was to convince her to let them have more access to the materials.
  View Answer

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