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Teach for America Interview Questions

Updated Nov 24, 2014
Updated Nov 24, 2014
241 Interview Reviews

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  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeksinterviewed at Teach for America in April 2008.

    Interview Details

    The final all day interview was the most difficult part. It requires you to give a 5 minute lesson, group interview, and 1:1, all in one day. During the group interview you have to speak up. The 1:1 gives you a chance to reflect on the morning events.

    Interview Questions
    • What has been the most difficult time or experience you have had to work through?   Answer Question
    • What do you think are the factors contributing to the educational achievement gap?   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    I was given a position and could either reject or accept it. While I was trying to decide a number of teach for america representatives called to give me more information. They even made is possible for me to visit a number of schools before I made my decision.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2. 3 people found this helpful  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Application Details

    The process took 2 weeksinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3. 2 people found this helpful  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took a dayinterviewed at Teach for America in September 2008.

    Interview Details

    Teach for America (TFA) has four deadlines. I applied for the first deadline. The process comes in three steps: first, there is an extensive online application requiring essays, resume, references, and recommendation. If accepted to move on, you are then scheduled for a phone interview several weeks later or you can be selected to bypass the phone interview and proceed to the day-long final interview. TFA gives extensively detailed instructions on how to complete each stage and staff members are quick to answer any question, no matter how minute, at any stage of the process. It is only before the final interview that you can rank regions where you want to teach and grade/subject matter. You highly increase your chances if you are flexible with regional placement and are willing to teach special education. There is additional preparation work for the final interview: one must read some background literature on an issue debated in the education world. Additionally, one must come prepared to the final interview with a two minute "sample lesson." This sample lesson can be in any grade or subject. Everyone, myself included, used visual aids of some kind such as maps or handouts. TFA stresses the importance of rehearsing this sample lesson beforehand and expect you to do it without index cards. Being polished and prepared is a huge part of what they are looking for. After everyone in your interview group (all finalists interview on the same day) teaches their lesson, there is a basic skills assessment, a mock school meeting that interviewees participate in as a group, and a question and answer session for your benefit, and then a one-on-one interview. The entire final interview is is conducted by staffers who are former corp. members. They are extremely personable and try hard to put you at ease. Interviewees should come prepared to talk about obstacles they may have faced and how they overcame them, any good group experience with solving problems, and a good answer for why you are interested in TFA. The culture of TFA is very group oriented and very much focuses on solving problems and overcoming challenges. It is drilled into your head that the two years may be the hardest of your life until that point but the consensus is that it's a rewarding experience.

    Interview Questions
    • How will you address your principal when you are in disagreement about an important situation   View Answer
    • What makes you sure you can keep the two year commitment to TFA   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    You can rank your region and your subject/grade but there is no negotiation when you are given an offer. Choose your regions widely and ask yourself how flexible you are willing to be. Keep in mind some of the most needy regions they are looking to fill requires the use of a car.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in San Francisco, CA
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 2 daysinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Application Details

    I applied in-person. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Teach for America in March 2009.

    Interview Details

    I first learned about Teach For America as a sophomore in college. The organization does alot of recruiting at the top undergraduate institutions in the US and looks for students who are highly motivated and able to work towards making a change in the education gap in the United States.

    Interview Questions
    Reasons for Declining

    I was offered a job in my field of choice (marketing.)

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7. 3 people found this helpful  

    Director Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Chicago, IL
    Application Details

    The process took 3 daysinterviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.

    Interview Details

    I received am email for a phone interview and I selected the first date available.

    Interview Questions
    • Which TFA core values do you align with?   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    Yes, I was able to negotiate.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  8. 3 people found this helpful  

    2010 Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied through other source. The process took 2+ monthsinterviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.

    Interview Details

    I applied January 8th (3rd application deadline). The time from application to offer spanned 2 months to the day (3rd deadline applicants were notified of their status on March 8). On January 14th, I was notified that I would be skipping the phone interview process and would move directly to the final interview. There was a small window to sign up for in person interviews that were held the week of February 8th. Unfortunately, this did necessitate getting overnight accommodations at a local hotel the night prior because the interview day started at 8:00AM and their interviews are often held on college campus' throughout the US - the closest of such being in Albany, NY as I live in a rural part of Northern NY. The interview day began promptly at 8:00 AM and each person's end time varied based upon the time of their 1:1 interview. There will be about 9-12 people at your interview, and at mine, thankfully, people were kind enough to ask around to see who had the furthest drive - offering the earliest 1:1 interview times to those people with the furthest commutes. I believe the latest time may have been from 5:00PM to 6:00PM.

    The day starts with giving your 5 minute classroom presentation. I will say, though, the time goes by so quickly. Practice your presentation. Time it. It was evident the people who were not prepared - they didn't provide enough copies of their handout despite the numerous times it was mentioned to come with 14 copies of your handout (12 for applicant, 2 for interviewers). Don't be that person.

    Next, you break into groups to discuss the articles they asked you to read. The interviewers sit close to you to hear your discussion, but they do not participate. This was the least stressful part of the interview. Read the articles so you have something to say, but don't dominate the conversation.

    There's a break in there somewhere to use the bathroom, but it isn't long.

    You will take a test. I found this to be the most stressful part of the interview because it was timed. From what I can recall, there were several multiple choice questions requiring your analysis of data tables. For example, there'd be a chart showing 10 students, 10 grades, and 3 methods of study/ instruction. The question would be "Based upon the table, which method of instruction should Mr. Jones eliminate?" It's basic math / critical thinking and appears to be the sort of thing you would need to do in your own class. There was also an essay on this test . I cannot remember what exactly you had to write about, but you had somewhere around 25 minutes to write.

    You have to write a second essay as well, although it is not part of the test. The question was something relating to your reaction or feeling about the group component of the interview. There were no right or wrong answers.

    Somewhere in there we heard a brief story about one member's experience int he Corps. They also gave a spiel about the Delta and Louisiana, and said that you could change your preferences but to only either of those locations for 48 hours after the interview. They also mentioned that a change had "no bearing" on your admissions decision, but I find that extremely hard to believe.

    The day wraps up with the scheduling of your 1:1 interview. I was the first interview of the day of my subgroup. They asked us to be to the interview time 10 minutes prior to the scheduled time. I was annoyed because the interviewers ate lunch during my session, and I was starving. Yes, I did eat before I arrived, but it was going on several hours at that point, and I did NOT have time to eat lunch before my interview.

    During the 1:1, it's pretty typical of other interviews that I have been on with the exception of a role play. The interviewer played the history department head and I played a teacher asking for permission to take the kids on a field trip. It did get a little intense, because she didn't just play nice with me, which the interviewer apologized for at the end.

     Your placement offer may or may not be related to the lesson you taught. I did pre-K and my placement is secondary English.

    Interview Questions
    Negotiation Details
    There is absolutely no negotiation. They present you with an offer of a region, grade level, and subject - you can either accept it or reject it.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    • 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
    Accepted Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed at Teach for America in March 2011.

    Interview Details

    TFA is very clear about their interview process. All the rules, requirements, etc. are noted. They even provide online seminars for potential interviewees for help. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my TFA interview experience.

    Interview Questions
    Reasons for Declining

    I did not end up getting the city I desired, and I chose to decline my offer noting that I would potentially apply again in the future.

    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  11.  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Raleigh, NC
    Application Details

    I applied online. The process took 3+ monthsinterviewed 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 Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

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