Teach for America Interview Questions

Updated Aug 31, 2015
554 Interview Reviews

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  1.  

    Training Interview

    Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America (New York, NY) in August 2007.

    Interview

    The people were very friendly. I was not interviewed by human resources, instead was interviewed by the employee training department. They seemed uncomfortable overall with the interview--didn't really ask typical questions. I think they made their mind up that they wanted to hire me before I even got there. It was odd.

    Interview Questions

    Reasons for Declining

    The position was too one-dimensional and didn't offer room for growth.

  2. Helpful (2)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Los Angeles, CA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America (Los Angeles, CA) in April 2008.

    Interview

    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

    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.

  3. Helpful (3)  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    The process took 2 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America (Newark, NJ) in December 2008.

    Interview

    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
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  5.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Newark, NJ
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took a week. I interviewed at Teach for America (Newark, NJ) in February 2008.

    Interview

    Initially, there is a weeding-out based on the written application. Once you are selected from that basin, a phone interview is planned for 20-30 minutes. If chosen after that process, the final step is a group and individual interview which lasts for at least 5 hours. The group starts by discussing different scenarios and problem solving different situations. Each person must also prepare a short mini lesson which they will demonstrate their teaching skills on their group members. Once those are finished, the group members sign up for the individual interview times. Those interviews start immediately. The individual interview is a series of questions about concerns, hopes, skills, etc; it's everything you would expect from an interview.

    Interview Questions

    • Describe a time when you encountered serious obstacles and what were the outcomes?   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    Negotiation is only really applicable to the placement you are given. You can choose which element is most important to you: subject area, city, or grade level. There isn't really any other element of negotiation.

  6. Helpful (1)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Teach for America in February 2008.

    Interview

    After I completed my application online, I got an email a couple weeks later, on the predetermined date, letting me know if I would be interviewing or not. The email gave me specific directions for what to expect at the interview and the date and time of the interview. The day of the interview it was a very relaxed and open atmosphere. Although I put pressure on myself, I didn't feel pressure with the interviewer. It was not at a Teach For America office, as they recruit at college campuses. It was a college interviewing center. First, after everyone in our small group arrived, we were asked to volunteer the lesson we had planned to present and teach to the group, assuming they were students. After all the lessons, we did a mock teacher meeting to discuss several issues presented to us at the time of the meeting. Lastly, we had a Q & A session with the interviewer about Teach For America and the rest of the process. At the end of the group interview, we signed up for time slots for our individual interview, which was after lunch. Throughout the whole morning session our interviewer kept everything very organized and easy flowing, allowing for breaks as needed and answered any questions we had along the way. If we ran over our teaching time allotment, she allowed us to finish but gave us a signal that time was about up. The afternoon was just as smooth as in the morning. We had signed up for 30 minute slots, and some ran over due to more discussions or questions, but no one ever got cut off or asked to leave. The 1-on-1 interview was more of a scenario test, to see what you would do in different scenarios. Again, at the end there was time for questions. Any advice I would offer is to relax. Be yourself. Giving the "perfect" answer isn't always what people want to hear. They want to hear what YOU really think, not what the textbook has told us is right.

    Interview Questions

    • What would you do if your students were not allowed to check out library books?   Answer Question
  7. Helpful (1)  

    Teach for America Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2 days. I interviewed at Teach for America (New York, NY) in March 2008.

    Interview

    This will be broken up into stages: 1) online application, 2) phone interview, 3) final interview. First, some general thoughts: The hiring process is very standardized - the people talking on the phone with you, speaking with you at an interview, or reading your application have a rubric they are scoring you with that is based not only on your leadership experience, how you've dealt with obstacles, resiliency, ability to think outside the box, etc, but also on your clarity, thoughtfulness, and personability. Teach for America is looking for highly motivated self-starters who see every problem not only as something to overcome but as an opportunity for analysis and reflection. Showing how you have used data to address an issue is a big plus. They also want to know about your organizational ability - this job will test it to the limit. Having a go-to answer "I use iCal, I use little notebooks, I am obsessed with my daily planner" will go a long way towards inspiring confidence. 1) ONLINE APPLICATION: First and foremost, start early and be thorough. You want to give your references plenty of time and prep them on what to emphasize when they are talking about you. Also, understand you are in an incredibly competitive applicant pool - harping on your grades or your time as student body president as your sole major selling point isn't going to do it. The online app itself is straightforward and multi-step. I would suggest setting yourself staggered deadlines for each stage. ON PLACEMENTS: only put a placement as a "high interest" if you are totally willing to go there. Those are all considered with equal weight. Once everything is submitted, you will receive an acceptance e-mail within a few weeks of deadline that will or will not request a phone interview before the final interview. 2) PHONE INTERVIEW: This is done by a TFA staffer using a rubric as outlined above, and will probably repeat many of the questions you may encounter in your personal interview. The callers have a limited time for the interview but are writing down your answers ver batim. They had no problem when I asked for a minute to think when they asked me a question. The call lasts 15-20 minutes and addresses things that you wrote about in your online application as well as information from the pre-interview reading, so have both in the front of your mind. If you are passed at this stage you will know through e-mail within a few days. 3) FINAL INTERVIEW: This half-day behemoth was actually a lot of fun, but you must come prepared. It has several stages - your 3-minute lesson, some group activities, a group interview, and a one-on-one interview. Dress to impress - most of the people at my interview were in suits, though men wouldn't look out of place in a sport coat and tie. Your 3-minute lesson is a definite make-or-break moment. There were 2 people at my interview who obviously hadn't practiced or timed their lesson, and neither of them ended up being accepted. Most of the top presentations had a tactile or visual component that went beyond use of the board. You will have 30 seconds to write your objective ("students will be able to...") on the board, then your 30 seconds begins - no prep time. You ARE allowed to tell the audience (your fellow interviewees) what grade level they are and what they have already learned to prepare for this lesson. KEY POINTS: Make sure your assessment matches your objective and that your timing is good. If anything, try to end about 30 seconds early to field questions. After the presentation the tension breaks. There are several group-based problem solving activities. Interviewers are looking for leadership, but not dominance. Your one-on-one interview will be very similar to the phone interview - remember what you wrote in your application and the information from the pre-reading, but focus primarily on clarity and personability. If you are accepted you will be notified within a few days.

    Interview Questions

    • What did you do in a situation where you had to deal with failure?   1 Answer
    • How do you deal with stress?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    There isn't any contract negotiation w/ TFA. If you aren't offered the region you wanted there isn't a ton of recourse - each staff is chosen from a pool, and asking for a transfer is more or less asking to be placed back into the general pool. Assuming you are chosen for a region you're willing to work, you will be set up with placement supervisors. E-MAIL THEM EARLY AND OFTEN WITH YOUR SPECIFIC WANTS AND NEEDS. Once you start interviews at schools you'll be expected to take the first offer without much discussion. Salaries are scaled and from the Dept. of Education and TFA has nothing to do with them.

  8.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Philadelphia, PA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Easy Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America (Philadelphia, PA) in March 2008.

    Interview

    You first must submit a written application consisting of transcripts and essays, etc. Then there is normally a phone interview, or you can sent straight to the final interview, which consists of a whole day of group interviewing, problem solving, and individual interviews.

    Interview Questions

    • How would you negotiate purchasing text books for your classroom to a principal who does not want to spend money on them?   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    There was nothing to negotiate for me. Teach for America is pretty standard. I have heard that some people were able to negotiate the region they are placed in, but my understanding is that there is not often too much flexibility.

  9.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Philadelphia, PA
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 1 day. I interviewed at Teach for America (Philadelphia, PA) in January 2007.

    Interview

    Teach For America is a young demanding organization that prides itself in being full of the 'best and brightest' college graduates. If you are serious about getting hired by TFA, be sure to become a campus campaign manager at your college or take on impressive leadership roles where you actually overcome obstacles to accomplish something. Good oral and written communication skills are important.

    Interview Questions

    • What were the biggest challenges you faced in ________? (this specific position on your resume)   Answer Question

    Negotiation

    I was not able to negotiate any terms.

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in New York, NY
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America (New York, NY) in November 2007.

    Interview

    The process begins with an online application that includes two essays. If you pass the first cut, you are scheduled for a phone interview. I did not like the phone interview because the interviewer was busy typing all of my responses and I felt like I was talking to myself. If you pass the phone interview, you are invited to an all day event where you present a mini-lesson and work in groups with other potential corps members. This was awkward because you have to role play and pretend you are a teacher facing difficult obstacles. I highly recommend looking up engaging lessons online before presenting. Mine was pretty boring and I felt like a slacker compared to some of the other applicants. At the end of the day you have an hour long one-on-one interview. I felt comfortable with my interviewer. She was very nice and I felt like she wanted me to do well. There are a lot of role playing questions so be prepared. You should practice with a friend in advance. This all day event took place in November and I was offered a position on January 7th. Teach For America has specific hiring days for each application session.

    Interview Questions

    • What would you say and do if your principal was cutting your weather unit in favor of test prep? Your students are very engaged in this unit and would be upset if it were cancelled completely. (This was a role play question. It is weird to have to treat a random woman like a principal.)   1 Answer
  11.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America in December 2008.

    Interview

    It was a long process, and very thorough. I could tell they wanted to be sure they were fully checking everyone out to make sure they were of the appropriate caliber. I was nervous all day, but they tried to make us feel comfortable. The 1:1 interview was pretty relaxed. It's hard to tell how well you're doing at the time, though.

    Interview Questions

    • there's a scenario about getting in touch with parents and then you try something and it doesn't work, so you have to try something else   Answer Question
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