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Teach for America Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jul 20, 2014

Getting an Interview  

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Interview Experience  

50%
36%
12%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
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3 people found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Member Interview

Member
Salt Lake City, UT

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

Interview Details – Focus on just the day long interview. When I went they were holding it for five days, and there were about 8 other people with me on that day. One of the interviewers was a former TFA teacher, the other was a manager of some sort who had never actually taught herself. You start by listening to their personal stories and asking general questions. Then you introduce yourself. Then we all take turns doing our sample lesson plan. I think the time limit was 10 minutes. Tips: About 2 people forgot to put their name, grade, and subject on the board, even though they reminded us several times before the start and this was part of the preparation instruction before interview day. Many people chose very low grade levels with simple tasks like how to tell time or how to count change. In my opinion, this just shows you are uncreative and intimidated because the example they give before interview day is something like this. I think about 6 didn't finish, and for 5 of them that was because they tried to get too complicated for just 10 minutes. One kid picked something rather complex from physics, and I think he got bonus points from the looks on the interviewer's faces even though he didn't even get to the part where he explained his worksheet. Dress: The two men came in slacks and ties. Half the women wore business suits and the other half wore very conservative dresses. One interviewer wore a party dress and the other wore slacks and a nice cotton shirt. The next part was a multiple choice quiz involving basic math, table reading (ie gradebooks), and problem solving. Some of the questions involved the same scenario for up to 3 questions, which involved a narrative and a chart and/or table. There were also some essay questions at the end. It was a timed test and I noticed that about half were still writing at time up. If you have ever taken an AP or standardized test before, then you will know to watch the clock and how to best budget your time. Then we were supposed to collaborate to solve a problem scenario they told us. Everyone had their own sheet of paper with the scenario and proposed solutions for its 2 parts. Someone was supposed to volunteer to be the scribe, and their paper had everyone's name on it. I volunteered for this, and I'm not sure if that was a good idea. You spend more time transcribing than participating, and it feels like a double-edged sword because the interviewers are also taking notes and I'm sure they want to see how accurately you portray the conversation. After that it's lunch break and you sign up for times to come back for the 1:1. The interview starts pretty typically. Again, they focused on only one of my jobs. I wonder if I perhaps talked about the other job too much. They refer to the transcript from your phone interview often. Then they play a "role-playing" scenario. In mine, I was to play a new teacher who was teaching Romeo and Juliet. The class enjoyed the discussions we had about the work. However, the school just spent lots of money on new computer software to teach the kids grammar drills. The kids hated them and wanted to spend more time reading Romeo and Juliet. I was supposed to come up with a solution to the problem and propose it to the principal, which the interviewer played. Basically, there is no way to win at this role playing. Every idea you bring up gets shot down rudely, and every now and again the "principal" suggests you are just a naive new teacher who doesn't understand how things roll. My strategy was to just push through until the end (when the interviewer finally said, "Okay, that's enough"). I'm not sure that's the best strategy. I could see some spineless types breaking down at this part or even someone just stopping in shock at the rudeness and curtness of the so-called principal, especially when they figure out there is no way to "win." But this is just my take. Supposedly, 18% become TFA members, but that depends on the number of applicants and if those numbers are even trustable (again, we are supposedly sworn to secrecy about the process).

Interview Question – Was there ever a time at your current job that you had an irresolvable conflict?   View Answer


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

The process took 2 days - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.

Interview Details – The phone interview gauged if I was a leader and what experience I had at leading people. They asked questions about my past work and education experience. The final round interview was a group interview. There were about a dozen other candidates with me in the room. We all had to present our prepared teaching plan to our peers and the two assessors. Then there was a group activity which guaged how you participate in a group discussion. Then there was a logic test, which centered on fixing problems with a school or education system. Finally there was a one on one interview that was very intense. Asked detailed questions about leadership experience, racism, etc.

Interview Question – Can you think of a reason why you would leave Teach for America before your two years were up.   View Answer


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

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

Interview Details – The interview process begins with a phone interview in which you are asked basic questions. After the phone interview you may be invited to a final interview. In this round you must present a five-minute lesson plan on a subject of your choosing, take a skills test, participate in a group problem solving with 8-12 other interviewees, do a role play activity and do a one-on-one interview. The process is quite intimidating and a bit overdone. During my interview all of the other interviewees were very supportive and cordial. Most people were most nervous about the five minute lesson plan, but it seemed like the interviewers cared more about the other parts. I was not offered a position and received little feedback as to why.

Interview Questions


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied through college or university and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2010.

Interview Details – The initial interview is a phone interview with a TFA alum that's generally behavioral. It's basically a screening interview to make sure you have an idea of what you're getting into and also that you're passionate about the problems that TFA is trying to address.

The final interview is hard. It consists of a five-minute lesson plan that you must prepare ahead of time and "teach" it to the particular group you're assigned to for this interview round. Next, you'll take part of a group discussion centered around the readings that they ask you to read in preparation beforehand. Then, you'll take a written test that's really easy if you're good with numbers and data. Finally, you'll do a one-on-one interview with one of your interviewers from the previous group interview. They tell you right away that there are no quotas (this is true) so you're not competing against each other for a limited number of spots, but some people still act like they need to take you out in order to do well, especially during the group discussion. Just keep your cool and be assertive but don't stoop to their level.

I think, in the end, while I was really passionate about the issues around education inequality in our country, the experience just wasn't for me. And they saw that. You really need to look before you leap on this one. Do your research, make sure this is something you'd really want, and get lots of second opinions before deciding to go ahead with this.

Interview Question – Given that the kind of environment you would be working in as a teacher would be very challenging, how would you deal with burning out during your two years?   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 4 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2011.

Interview Details – Long process. The interviews were fun and exciting, but definitely require stamina to remain engaged.

Interview Question – Explain your view on the achievement gap.   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

No Offer

Negative Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
Washington, DC

I applied online and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2010.

Interview Details – Teach for America is a seemingly great program. They offer college graduates an excellent forum to put off the real world, while adding a goldmine to their resume. With that said, TFA is not respected amongst the teaching community, and they are more interested in adding people with rockstar resumes, than people who might actually be a good teacher (hence, education majors cannot apply). The program is backwards.

TFA is famous for stringing people along. They receive more applicants than just about any job, so it is difficult to make each step of the process. It consists of an initial application with essay, a short question/answer online "test", a phone interview, and an intensive all day interview with a practice lesson. While this may sound easy, candidates at each stage are cut for not apparent reason.

It is an extremely difficult process for a college senior who is likely going through his first application, and is largely unfair. I would avoid the TFA headache, because even if accepted into the program, be ready for a 2 year nightmare which a high percentage of participants soon hate.

Interview Question – What would lead you to quitting TFA?   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2010.

Interview Details – Skills test, then phone interview, then had an all day 1:1 interview.

Interview Questions


No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

I applied online and the process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details – I had an enjoyable interview process, and let me tell you people aren't kidding around when they say it is a competitive process. Everyone was very polite and personable, and I felt like I did great on my interview.

Although I did not get an offer, I have nothing but positive things to say about the whole process. Other than the fatigue that sets in from waiting for the entire interview process to conclude (its easy to start getting nervous with anticipation), the staff and the recruiters did their very best to make the experience as informative and adventurous as possible.

Interview Question – What, if anything, would cause you to quit the program?   Answer Question


No Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
Columbus, OH

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

Interview Details – The interview process was tough. There was a phone interview and then the day long interview. Spent tons of time prepping, because this was the job I was looking for. Sadly, I was not offered a position, but feel the interview experience was overall positive.

Interview Question – Is there any reason you would have for leaving the program early if you were offered a position?   View Answer


No Offer

Neutral Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

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

Interview Details – 3 rounds of interviews across rolling deadlines. 1. Online application, 2. Phone interview, 3. In-person interview and sample lesson.

Interview Question – There was a specific simulation question that was very difficult at the in-person interview day. It likely changes by year, interview location, and interview date. It asks you to solve a problem within the school and then the interviewer reacts as a certain actor in the situation.   Answer Question

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