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Teach for America Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated May 27, 2014
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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Denver, CO

I applied online and the process took 6 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in January 2010.

Interview Details – After uploading a detailed resume, including all classes and grades from college, and a letter of intent and essay, potential corps members must pass a phone screen asking general questions related to the organization's mission statement of closing the achievement gap. Especially strong candidates sometimes skip the phone screen all together and go straight to an in person interview. The in person interview takes all day, usually off site (i.e., not at your college campus.) This interview consists of a short sample lesson (so interviewers can see your presence in front of people), a panel interview, a group simulation (to screen your dynamics working with others), a role-play scenario (to see how you respond to situations in which you would have to be persistent and professional), a debrief of the role play, and a one-on-one interview in which you talk a lot about leadership experience, how you respond to adversity, and your attitudes toward education and low income communities. If you are a fit, you will be contacted on a certain date which you know ahead of time with your region, grade, and subject area placement.

Interview Question – Your school principal is refusing to let you hold an additional tutoring session that your students desperately need because there is a pep rally. What do you say?   Answer Question

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details – The application consists of general background questions asking about education, experience, volunteering, club membership and leadership , as well as an essay. The next part of the process is the phone interview, where you may be asked to asked to describe yourself, your experiences in leadership, as well as your organization skills. The final interview consists of a 5 minute lesson plan, group interview (discussion format in response to a prompt), and a personal interview.

Interview Question – How do you keep yourself organized?   Answer Question

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3 people found this helpful

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
New York, NY

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2010.

Interview Details – The online application computes a numerical score for every application. Any score exceeding the threshold results in a phone and/or final interview.

The application scoring algorithm rewards points for the typical admissions stuff (SAT, GRE, GPA, etc. etc.) Just as important as the admissions-y stuff is the TFA traits they test for.

Always highlight experiences you've had that exhibit the following traits:
-leadership
-goal-setting
-ability to find yourself at fault to fix a problem
-ability to thrive from adversity
-tolerance of different views
-helping others out of a love for humanity

These types of traits are very intentionally coded into the possible answers you can choose from in the application.

Know that you're selling your brand when you're applying to TFA... while knowing that your brand really means their's.

Interview Question – What would make you prematurely leave your region and not finish your 2 year commitment?   Answer Question

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1 person found this helpful

Accepted Offer

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Hanover, NH

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details – Online application submission, selection for telephone interview, and then final interview that consisted of a demo lesson, group activity/observation, and one-on-one interview with a role-play. Many questions geared towards time-management, organization, and conflict resolution skills and are generally phrased as "describe a time when you...." There is an ideology behind the questions, so yes, there are 'wrong' answers, but as long as you are able to showcase leadership qualities and dedication, you should do well. Interviewers were always pretty friendly, though they seemed to sometimes be behind schedule (10-15 minute waits).

Interview Question – Role-play scenario: If you were a teacher and you wanted to take your class on a field trip that you felt was beneficial to their learning, but I am an administrator who has told you no, what would you do?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – Very little negotiation is allowed for as placement in regions/content is a national logistics nightmare. However, if you are extended an offer, it's not impossible to negotiate for a different region/content, so long as you have a valid reason. Be mindful of Induction/Institute dates when applying and you'll have a general idea of what they can be flexible on. TFA staff (individuals) are always much more flexible and understanding than the official 'rules.'

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Madison, WI

I applied online and the process took a day - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2009.

Interview Details – After submitting my initial application, I was told I was qualified enough to skip the phone interview and go directly to the in-person interview. At the in-person interview, I was asked to give a 5-minute lesson in any grade level/subject area. The interviewers cut you off once you hit the 5-minute mark. I then took a short quiz (very simple) and then participated in a group assessment, in which we had to problem-solve a school-level issue in 20 minutes. In the afternoon, I had my one-on-one interview with one of the two interviewers, in which I was asked to comment on my problem-solving experiences.

Interview Question – I was asked to address the interviewer as though he was a school principal and request that my high school students gain permission to check-out books from the school library for a research project. The school did not allow students to check out books because they were frequently lost or stolen. The challenge was problem-solving and suggesting solutions on the spot to the problem when the principal consistently refused my request for library privileges.   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There is no negotiation with TFA- you are given a regional, grade level, and subject assignment and you can either accept or decline your offer. Salary is based on incoming teacher salary in the region, and negotiation with area principals is expressly forbidden by TFA.

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
New York, NY

I applied online - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2013.

Interview Details – 1. Complete an online essay and write information about yourself.
2. The next phase is a phone interview, which was a lot behavioral interview questions -- Did you ever miss a deadline? What did you do in leadership roles etc.
3. The final interview involves a five minute presentation which goes by really quickly. There is then a group interview where they give your group a problem to solve and then there is a 1 on 1 interview.

Interview Question – How do you stay organized?   Answer Question

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No Offer

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Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Princeton, NJ

I applied through college or university and the process took 5+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2012.

Interview Details – The interview process is intense - there are phone interviews, writing samples, and a day long group interview in which you teach to other for five minutes. They want to see that you are organized, passionate, and talented at teaching. During the teaching interview, its important to cold call on people.

Interview Question – What do you do if you want to take your class on a field trip, but the principle is reluctant to agree?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

I applied online and interviewed at Teach for America.

Interview Details – The application is lengthy and requires a lot of jumping through hoops. If they like what they see on paper, you get a phone interview. If you pass that, you advance to a final interview day where you complete an activity in a small group, delivery a demo lesson to that group, and do a one-on-one interview.

Interview Question – Why Teach for America in particular?   Answer Question

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2 people found this helpful

Declined Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Houston, TX

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2010.

Interview Details – I received first contact with Teach for America from a on campus recruiter who strongly encouraged me to apply based off my leadership endeavors during undergrad. The first step was to fill out an online application which consisted of basic questions, a two page essay, and a resume.

Around a week and a half later, I received an email requesting a phone interview. During the phone interview, they asked basic behavioral questions (tell me about yourself, name a time you lead a group, etc.) as well as to discuss some articles about education that were emailed to you prior to the interview. They seemed to value your opinion about the articles pertaining to the disparity in education so there was no right or wrong answer, just be sincere.

About a week and a half later, I received an email asking me to log onto the Teach for America system and select which regions/cities that I would prefer to work in. You can select up to 3 or 4 or select an option to be placed based on need. Note: they try to place you based on preference but also in correlation to their need. Also, slots do not fill up in cities based on how early you apply. There will be spaces in ALL markets whether your applying in the first, middle, or last cycle. Finally, you have the best chances of being placed by marking no preference but they do not hold it against you if you select a city preference. You can also indicate a reason for selecting your city of choice (for example a spouse receiving a job offer in a particular region, sick family member, proximity to home, etc.). Accommodations can be met if you are selected during this time. Also, this is the time that you choose your grade level preference (elementary, middle, or high school). The same rules apply with grade level, courses (if applicable) as city placement. During this time, you are also asked to select up to 3 people to serve as your recommenders for the program. Make sure you find someone who will speak highly to your character and abilities

About two weeks later, I received another email stating that I progressed to the next round of interviews that consisted of a panel interview. The interview would consist of a one-on-one in person interview with another regional recruiter as well as a panel interview to which you were to construct a 5 minute teaching assignment to teach to the other people interviewing as well as team building and group assignments to see how you worked within a team. The entire event lasted roughly a half to full day (depending on how early you arrived to sign up for your interview after the panel interview). With the teaching assignment, I found it best to be yourself but also be creative if possible when teaching (think would I be engaged if I were a student in my classroom).

Finally, around two weeks later, you will receive an email notification whether or not you were accepted into the corps, which region you will be located it, and what grade level (or grade level range ) and subject you will be teaching. You will also be contacted by your regional head who will personally introduce you to the corp and be an aid to help you make the decision on whether to accept the offer.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Everyone was very friendly and the program goes out of their way to recruit and effectively train you so that your prepared and just not thrown to the wolves.

Interview Questions

  • Name a time where you served in a leadership role?   Answer Question
  • Name a time where you had to work with a group of people who you didn't see eye to eye on?   Answer Question

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No Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Bloomington, IN

The process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2010.

Interview Details – Was really bummed about the process. I was excited about TFA and found the interviewers unenthusiastic and bland. Sad for a service organization. Questions were pretty basic for the one on one, just asked about college activities and leadership roles. Had to role play about a situation.

Interview Questions

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