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Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews
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Corps Member Interview (Neutral Experience)
Interviewed at Teach for America
Interview Details – Long interview process that begins with a lengthy application. Then it is followed by phone interview and if you make it to the next round it is an in person interview that lasts about 4 hours.
Interview Question – Why Teach For America? Answer Question
TFA Corps Member Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through college or university - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.
Interview Details – It's been about five years, so my memory is a little fuzzy but as I recall: I submitted my application online during the third application cycle and was notified a few days later that I was accepted for a 15 minute phone interview. After this interview, I was notified that I had moved on to the next phase of the interview cycle, an all-day interview. This interview was broken down into different parts: a five minute sample lesson, a group interview and problem solving session, and an individual interview. The five minute sample lesson will be with a small group of about 10 people, who all get up and teach for a short time on the topic of their choosing. TFA generally conducts these interviews in a place with a white board and will provide everyone with dry erase markers to write on the board. A few people in my group were fancy and had prepared worksheets for the group or an experiment. I didn't do this; however, I later found out that a lot of people in the New Orleans corps had. The next part of my interview day consisted of a short group interview and problem solving session with the same group as during the sample lessons. As I remember, we were given a short prompt on the achievement gap and had to respond to written questions and then were asked to have a group discussion and answer oral questions. I think TFA was just looking for people who weren't afraid of participating and who didn't display any biases against minorities or the socioeconomically disadvantaged. After this, we were notified that the group portion of the interview had ended and asked to sign up for a time later on in the day for our individual interview. We were also given a classroom situation that we would be asked about in the individual interview. I can't remember exactly, but I think the classroom situation was one of the first portions of the individual interview. My recommendation on this would be to come up with as many solutions to the problems as possible. The interviewer is going to keep questioning your solution and posing hypotheticals that would make it impossible, so the more solutions you can come up with the better. After this, the interview moved on to more standard interview questions for the rest of the time. I do recall my interviewer being particularly emotionless and typing the entire time during the interview, which I was later told they are instructed to do. Basically, the entire time you are being interviewed a TFA staff member is filling out a huge rubric and depending on how you score determines whether or not you are offered a job.
Interview Question – My interviewer asked a lot of questions about what I would do or how I would respond in classroom scenarios. This is difficult to do when you have never set foot in a classroom. Just use what you think is good judgment and answer accordingly. Answer Question
Negotiation Details – Since TFA does not pay corps members (school districts do), the only thing you can really negotiate on is where you are placed or what grade/subject you are teaching.TFA tries to make it seem like corps members have no power to negotiate on these matters, but the reality is that you do. I was offered a placement in my least preferred area, but was able to negotiate to be placed in another area. I know several other people in my school who did the same.
Corps Member Interview (Positive Experience)
Interviewed at Teach for America
Interview Details – The process has three rounds. Application, Telephone Interview, Group interview. The questions focus on your ability to be a team player and your ability to work with others in various situations.
Interview Question – We were given a scenario that could occur in the school and how you would handle that case Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
TFA Corps Member Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in January 2010.
Interview Details – Very interesting interview process. They ask you questions that get down to 1) your leadership qualities and experiences, 2) your organizational skills, and 3) your cultural competency. Each of them is hard to fake while you're in the interview, because it's hard to answer competently unless you can actually own it in real life as well.
Interview Question – The sample teach can be the most challenging part of the interview day for many, and most of the sample lessons I saw were pretty bad. View Answer
Negotiation Details – Really easy. They basically tell you where you're going and you accept or decline.
TFA Corps Member Interview (Positive Experience; Difficult Interview)
I applied through a recruiter and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2011.
Interview Details – After initially being contacted by an on-campus recruiter, I attended multiple information sessions and several (3-4) sit-down informal conversations with the recruiter. TFA keeps a paper trail on applicants, so therefore, it is to your advantage to keep in contact via email and by attending these sessions. I applied to the earliest deadline and because of my continued contact with my recruiter, I was able to skip the phone interview and move immediately into the online short answer activity. The online activity consisted of several short answer questions regarding TFA's core values - specifically, diversity in the corps and in the classroom and humility in collaborating with other teachers and educators. There was a video question regarding a new teacher in a difficult situation with a veteran educator at school, and corps member responses to this series of questions were brought up during the final interview. I was invited to the final interview for which candidates prepare and deliver a 5-minute lesson. Also, all candidates participate in a series of whole-group and small-group activities that are centered around your online short answer responses.
The 5-minute lesson is clearly the "make it or break it" component of the interview, as most candidates who have made it to this stage of the process are clearly qualified leaders both academically and professionally. Your 5-minute lesson should consist of a clear hook (opener) which quickly moves into your introduction to new material (INM). This should be short and concise, as you are introducing your topic to be mastered to the class. Within your introduction to new material, you should clearly state and write down your learning objective on the white board provided. Your objective is what students (your fellow interview candidates) will be able to master and demonstrate by the end of your lesson. From your introduction to new material, guide your "class" into whole-group practice of your learning objective. Whether this is identifying verbs in a sentence or describing the difference between mammals and insects, students must be able to practice as a whole-group with you, their "instructor, and amongst themselves, their "fellow classmates." Then, move into independent practice where individual corps members demonstrate their knowledge of the topic you have just taught. You absolutely must have an assessment piece at the end of your independent practice, which could be just 1-2 questions the candidates must answer to demonstrate your mastery of the objective. This could be on the worksheet or handout your provide them or given verbally. The size of your interview "class" will be about 12-15 candidates, so this is easily manageable. I highly suggest meeting and practicing with current teachers or using YouTube tutorials to model by yourself.
Interview Question – Your interviewers are almost always former corps members and/or recent TFA alumni, and they will open up the floor to candidate questions. They are very open and forthcoming with answering and detailing their own experiences in the corps. Your questions during this time will demonstrate your commitment to and knowledge of TFA, as well as what type of leader you will be in your classroom and region. Many of the candidates applying for spots in the incoming TFA corps are competitive, with past records of achievement and success in their respective fields. Make sure, therefore, that during open question time you clearly and deftly allow others to speak, demonstrate your own active listening skills, and do not hog the speaking time. This shows what type of corps member you will be, and TFA does not want braggarts who can't work or collaborate with others. This was also clearly the purpose of the whole-group and small-group activities; which corps members will be able to work with and for others while leading through action and example, and which candidates are attempting to control and regulate the situation? By the time you move to your final one-on-one interview, be sure to have several questions prepared and anecdotes about your past experiences as a leader and as a learner. TFA will invest in you only as much as you show you are willing to embrace and overcome obstacles - this is not an easy job, but instead very challenging yet rewarding. TFA wants to see your demonstrated experience at overcoming obstacles by problem solving, collaborating with others, and relentlessly pursuing your own goals. Also, I highly suggest coming in with region-specific questions and references to current corps members you know; they want to know that you are aware of what you're getting in to with TFA! Answer Question
Negotiation Details – After receiving your acceptance offer to join the corps, you will be given your placement subject and/or region (possible). There is little negotiation with this unless you have a valid concern (upcoming marriage, family illness, etc...). Corps members from that specific region will contact you and answer any questions you may have leading up to you accepting your TFA offer.
Corps Member Interview (Neutral Experience; Difficult Interview)
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.
Corp Member Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.
Interview Details – First, an online form is filled out, where you answer questions about you, your experience, etc. You also upload a resume. If you advance, there is a phone interview. If you advance past that, there is a day-long, in-person interview. The interview includes a teaching sample, small group work, and a personal interview.
Interview Question – They ask you to go into great detail of a time when you overcame a problem. Answer Question
TFA Corps Member Interview (Negative Experience; Average Interview)
I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.
Interview Details – I applied online on whim because the deadline was approaching. It was mostly leadership and volunteer activities. A week or so later I was notified I was selected for a phone interview and an online application/test. The test was evaluating grades of "students" and finding out ways to improve education. The phone interview was weird - I've done a bunch of tutoring but the interviewer only wanted me to respond to her questions regarding one position that had nothing to do with education. I spent about 45 minutes trying to answer questions about this position and the questions didn't make sense.
Interview Question – What has been your greatest accomplishment? View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
Corps Member Interview (Positive Experience; Very Difficult Interview)
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
Corp Member Interview (Positive Experience; Average Interview)
I applied through college or university - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2013.
Interview Details – i had a phone interview as well as the day long group interview a few weeks later. Both experiences were generally pleasant. I enjoy talking about education and issues related to it, so I tended to ramble. The phone interview was casual, with questions about "a time when you were challenged" and "what is your organization style."
Interview Question – Actually describing your organization and scheduling style required me to think about why I do what I do. Answer Question
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