Teach for America

  www.teachforamerica.org
Work in HR? Unlock Free Profile

Teach for America TFA Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Jun 19, 2014
All Interviews Received Offers

Getting an Interview  

74%
21%
4%

Interview Experience  

82%
13%
4%

Interview Difficulty  

Average Difficulty
28 candidate interviews Back to all interview questions
Relevance Date Difficulty
in

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Cambridge, MA

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.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Madison, WI

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.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Boston, MA

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.


Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – The lesson plan, group project and the interview were very straight forward. They really emphasized how "hard" working for TFA would be and told us that if we thought that the next year as a corps member would be easy, we shouldn't bother showing up to the final interview.

Interview Question – The classic - what's the biggest challenge you've faced?   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – During the process there is a general application, phone interview, and final interview. During the phone interview they ask you questions from your resume and times you have had to manage difficult situations. The people who call are very friendly and do not try to trick you. The more you talk about handing difficult situations=the better.

In the final interview there are about 12 people who also interview with you. You do not have to compete with them (they can offer a position to all of you or none of you). You are asked to do a 5 minute "lesson plan," group problem solving, and a one on one interview.

Interview Question – During the final interview they give you a role playing situation in which you have to convince the "principal" (interviewer) that you should be allowed to take a group of students on a field trip (they give you road blocks as to why the trip couldn't be allowed).   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – None.


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

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

Interview Details – Three stage interview process:

1) Personal statement of intent and several short answer questions

2) Phone interview, timed online activity, and 3 references

3) In person interview and 5 minute lesson presentation

Overall, the interview experience was a long, but positive one--if you are set on joining. I had a few buddies work tirelessly through the first two steps, only to get rejected in the final round because they did not convince the interviewers they were committed to the cause. Only worth going through the trouble if you really want it.

Interview Question – Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you worked past it.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – No negotiations. Two weeks to decide, no extensions.


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – There was an online application which you answered short answers about why you wanted to work for TFA, questions about your leadership/experiences. From there I was invited to a phone interview, which was a pretty basic,typical interview, where she asked questions about my resume, why I want to work for them, ect. After I had to do an online activity and then invited to a final interview. The final interview, personally was the most enjoyable part of the process. The final interview consisted of a 5 minute lesson plan, which you teach to all of the other interviewees, a group activity/discussion, introduction of the interviewers and a chance to ask them questions, and then a one on one interview. The interviewers were very friendly and enthusiastic, which in turn made me more comfortable and excited to join.

Interview Question – You had to role play a scenario with your interviewer, which could range from a variety of topics involving education, and problems you'll face in the classroom. Mine was trying to convince the principle why I (as a teacher) should take the class on a field trip. It was only difficult because it can be a bit awkward and strange to role play   Answer Question


1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Average Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – For the lesson, most people did not have time to finish so I recommend that you budget for four minutes. Everyone gives a five-minute lesson, and the other interviewees are the students, as are the interviewers (2 in my case). Then, you interview with one of the interviewers. I skipped the phone interview round but apparently questions are similar. They ask why TFA, have you talk about your leadership experience, ask you when you've overcome challenges, etc.

Interview Question – Have you ever quit anything? Have you ever handed in an assignment late?   Answer Question


Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member
Nashville, TN

I applied through a recruiter - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2009.

Interview Details – Sample lesson, ability test, behavioral interview, phone call

Interview Question – Reflection   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – N/A


Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

TFA Corps Member Interview

TFA Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – numerous rounds. Be prepared for lots of paperwork. They are really into numbers and look for leadership experiences. At the final interview, you have to do a sample lesson plan and they are very strict about the time.

Interview Question – Why TFA?   Answer Question

Worked for Teach for America? Contribute to the Community!

The difficulty rating is the average interview difficulty rating across all interview candidates.

The interview experience is the percentage of all interview candidates that said their interview experience was positive, neutral, or negative.

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.