Teach for America
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www.teachforamerica.org New York, NY 150 to 499 Employees

Teach for America Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Apr 11, 2014
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Getting the Interview 

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Interview Experience 

69%
23%
7%

Interview Difficulty 

400 candidate interviews
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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Very Difficult Interview

Corps member Interview

Anonymous Employee
San Francisco, CA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed 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 Question – 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.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
Binghamton, NY

I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2008.

Interview Details – You phone interview first. Then you may make it to the day-long interview. The day long interview consists of some team working projects, analytical tests, a sample teaching, role-playing and a one on one interview. In the team working projects, make sure to be inclusive of all people, be respectful and open minded, listen well, and share your own ideas. In the sample teaching, the most important piece is the reflection afterwards. Be sure your lesson has a beginning, middle, and assessment at the end. The people were very professional. The work culture is tenacious and no-nonsense. Everyone is focused towards "continuually increasing effectiveness," so constructive criticism is valued, solicited, and responded to promptly. This is one of the most fluid, effective, and efficient organizations in the United States. The reason is that everyone leaves their personal pride behind to work towards the collective mission of closing the achievement gap. This is the type of person that they are looking for. If you get the job with TFA, do not accept unless you are willing to put your students first, above yourself, and to work 80+ hour weeks, especially in your first year as a corps member. This being said, as a corps member you will experience unimaginable personal growth.

Interview Question – What would you do if a principal forced you to cut science from your elementary curriculum because the state only tested English and Math?   Answer Question

Negotiation Details – There are no negotiations, except maybe on where of the 28 TFA regions you will be placed in. If there are extenuating family circumstances or health issues, you get to choose more directly.

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5 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Employee
New York, NY

I applied online and the process took 3 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2008.

Interview Details – I was attracted to Teach for America for many reasons--a chance to make an immediate difference, the challenge, chance to move across the country, free masters degree, alumni network, grad school applications--and recruited by Teach For America to be a recruiter myself. Thus, I had already worked as a Campus Campaign Coordinator at the University of Southern California for almost 4 months before applying.

Essentially, make sure that you do research on education inequity, the progress that Teach For America has made, and that you're joining the movement for the right reasons. The application process is becoming more competitive, and it boils down to qualified people are turned away because they don't have the knowledge about or drive to fix education.

Draft responses to address the following issues: a difficulty you have overcome, a success story despite obstacles, your understanding of public education. Avoid generalizations and statements about education that you cannot quantify or speak for personally.

Also, make sure you do at least one test-run of your lesson plan with someone who has taught. They will offer excellent advice of how to clarify your instruction.

Interview Question – I had to role-play a situation where my principal would not allow my students to take home library materials in order to finish research for their term papers (4th grade... I was being ambitious. ;-)

My goal was to convince her to let them have more access to the materials.
  View Answer

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Accepted Offer

Neutral Experience

Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2008.

Interview Details – Initial web based sign-up with letter of intent and resume and background questions. Then a phone interview that last about 30-50 minutes. Then an all day interview within a group and a 1:1. They are selective but not competetive, you just need to fit. Just preach a lot on how you religously believe in their mission and be extremely organized. Other than that its hard to know exactly what they are looking for and hope for the best.

Interview Questions

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher

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

Interview Details – 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 Question – 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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2 people found this helpful

Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
New York, NY

I applied through a recruiter and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in May 2007.

Interview Details – Every person I was in contact with was extremely informational and helpful. There was also a general e-mail that I could send any type of concern or question I had before, during and after the interview process. I had to send in a detailed application with personal info, 2 essays and another page of information. I was then contacted that I was accepted to move onto the next phase: the phone interview. I was called about 4 days later and the phone interview lasted about 40 minutes. I was briefed quickly how the format would be, then asked multiple questions: ranging from how I have dealt with past situations to how I thought I would handle things in the future. I was asked about my past managerial and work experience. I was asked how I deal with stressful situations and of course the typical interview question of what my 3 strengths and 3 weaknesses are. After completing this phase, I was contacted a couple days later to tell me I was accepted to the next phase: the group and 1:1 interview. I set up a day in Manhattan for approximately 2 weeks later. I had to bring my resume, my smile/personality and a 5 minute lesson plan. I had no teaching experience, so I had to do some research and work pretty hard on a lesson appropriate for a grade of my choice: 2nd grade. There were about 8 other applicants and 2 interviewers present on my group interview day. We did quick introductions, heard a personal story from the interviewers and then jumped into presentations. 5 minutes went by quick! I did a language arts presentation with hand-outs, a quick explanation/definition and then a group activity that involved crayons and "class" participation. The other applicants were my "class." After the presentations we had to break up into two groups and work together as we were observed to figure out a situation that was given to us. Then we took individual tests that took about 20 minutes. We got a lunch break then came back for our individual interviews. These lasted anywhere from 25 minutes to over an hour! We were asked similar questions to the phone interview and then had to do a mock situation. We were a teacher in an under privileged school and the interviewer was the principal. We had to persuade them to agree to trust our class to borrow books from the school library for a research project even though the library had been losing books to irresponsible students and banned teachers and students from checking out books. It was a little intimidating, but went smoothly after a couple minutes into it. I received immediate feedback after we finished. After a few days I was contacted to tell me I had been accepted. I had to go online and accept the offer and fill out information.

Interview Question – How have you handled stressful situations in the past?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – There really is no negotiation. There are some choices once you are offered the position. For example, Teach For America placement is across the united states, from NY to Hawaii! You can choose that you are extremely flexible and will go wherever most needed. Or, you can put all of the placements in order and they say about 95% of applicants get one of their top 3 choices. I received my 10th choice; however, it was because of testing dates. After you accept the offer, you have to take a test to be authorized to teach in the city/state that you are placed. The only state that I could attend the testing was my 10th choice because of a family vacation I was going on. Thus, there's a placement for anyone and everyone regardless of your plans, needs and wants. They work pretty hard to make sure you're happy where you are placed. The $$$ is decided through the state you work in, it's not up to the company.

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member

The process took a day - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2009.

Interview Details – Teach for America likes to see that candidates are strongly analytical thinkers who can work through just about any problem. To that end, you are presented, as a group, with case-based problems and expected to work through them before presenting solutions to the rest of the group in the room, including the interviewers. This isn't difficult, but you should certainly work to ensure that you're noticed.

Interview Question – Why do students in low-income areas perform at lower levels than higher-income students?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Teacher
Philadelphia, PA

I applied online and the process took 2 days - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2009.

Interview Details – First round is a phone interview where the interviewer asks you questions about America's education achievement gap and why you want to be a teacher. Second round interviews are all day and consist of a sample lesson, group interview, and individual interview. Individual interview is the most important. Asks you strength/weakness questions and why you want to become a teacher.

Interview Question – What would you do if you worked in a school where the Principal did not support your instructional decisions?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Teacher Interview

Anonymous Employee

The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2010.

Interview Details – After filling out an application and submitting a letter of intent, I was invited to a phone interview. The phone interview focused on gauging your interest for TFA and questions about the 2 articles that you are supposed to read. The final round was a presentation, group discussion, essay test, and 1:1. The 1:1 was behavioral. They want to get a sense of how you fit into thier core values and your overall character.

Interview Question – Have you ever missed a deadline?   Answer Question

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Accepted Offer

Positive Experience

Difficult Interview

Corps Member Interview

Corps Member
Jacksonville, FL

The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2008.

Interview Details – First I was contacted by a recruiter. After several emails and meetings I decided to apply. After applying I was moved on to the phone interview. The phone interview was 30 minutes long, and asked questions about how many difficult situations I had been in, and how I handled them. Then I was moved to the final all-day interview. The all day interview consisted of teaching a lesson, a written part, a group situation part, and finally a one on one interview.

Interview Question – Have you ever had to work with a boss you didn't get a long with?   View Answer

Negotiation Details – None

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