Teach for America
Getting an Interview
Getting an Interview
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2010 Corps Member Interview
I applied through other source. The process took 2+ months – interviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.
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.