I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2013.
Interview Details – i applied right before the fourth deadline, and received an email a couple of days after inviting me for a phone interview. i completed the phone interview last sunday and i'm waiting to hear back, so hopefully it's good news.
Interview Question – they will ask you A LOT about your leadership experience, so be sure to have some answers! Answer Question
I applied online and the process took 5 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in November 2012.
Interview Details –
I actually want to write this review because I found an AWESOME resource that I think really helped my application, and I haven't seen anyone on here talk about it yet. A former corps member wrote a book called "Destination Teach For America" that helps people with their applications and interviews. It's on Amazon now, but I first found the book's website a few months ago (www.destinationteachforamerica). If you're set on getting into TFA, I would highly recommend looking at it.
Anyway, I enjoyed the interview process a lot, probably because I really wanted to get in and was excited about doing this for the next 2 years. The application consists of a letter of intent, resume, and a bunch of other questions that you fill out online. It asks a lot about leadership positions that you have had, and it asks for you to explain your positions and achievements with those leadership positions.
I had a phone interview with a current 2nd year corps member who was really nice, although the interview seemed really scripted. She asked me a lot of questions about Teach For America, and also standard interview-y questions. It took about 40 minutes. I thought it went well (and I guess it did because I was invited to the final interview).
The next step was doing an online activity and getting recommendations. I'd already lined up my people to give recommendations, so that was pretty easy. The online activity wasn't too bad either. Some of the data questions were really straight-forward, although a few of the questions seemed a bit confusing.
My final interview group had 11 people. Obviously I was the most nervous about the 5 minute lesson (although this book teaches you how to put together a lesson using a planning template, so I felt really prepared). People literally taught anything and everything, and all of the applicants helped each other out with their lessons. I liked that the 5 minute lesson was first because it helped us bond.
After that, we sat in groups and discussed articles that we had read. The interviewer sat away from our table and just took notes. It was cool getting in that environment, and I feel like that is what a lot of days with TFA corps members will be: talking about education with people who actually care. I liked this part too.
The 1 on 1 interview is pretty straightforward, like many other job interviews, with the exception of the role play situation that other reviewers have talked about. Again, the book I mentioned gave sample dialogue and advice about the role play, so I felt really prepared for that as well.
I know a lot of the information I talked about is already on Glassdoor from other reviewers, but I mainly wanted to sign up to share Destination Teach For America. I'm not saying I wouldn't have gotten in without it, but it was definitely helpful for me. Now that I'm in, I want to share it with you all.
Interview Question – What would make you quit Teach For America? Answer Question
Negotiation Details – No negotiations, you are hired by a school in whatever region they send you to.
Interviewed at Teach for America
Interview Details – People say TFA's application process is "very rigorous", but honestly, it was one of the easiest interview processes I've ever been through. Starts with an online, written application [personal statement (my advice: don't over-analyze the personal statement! say what you mean, mean what you say--if you're speaking from the heart, it's simple. don't get me wrong, you should edit just to make sure there aren't any grammatical errors or misspellings), description of leadership positions (very important to have leadership experience!), and a resume (try to tailor it a bit for TFA by highlighting any leadership positions or education-related experiences)]. Next is either an invite for a phone interview or final interview (I went straight to the final interview, so I'm not really sure what the phone interview entails). Final interview is a day-long process that starts with teaching a 5-minute lesson (my advice: KEEP IT SIMPLE!! Teach something very basic, elementary-level--use simple handouts, make sure to check for understanding by asking questions throughout to "the class" and/or finding some other way to check for understanding), next is a group activity (pretty simple--I'm not positive what they were looking for in this activity, but I'd emphasize being a team player (don't try to overshadow one another), give positive feedback, and keeping in mind TFA's ultimate goal of closing the achievement gap. Last is the 1-on-1 interviews--just be open and honest. Be sure to look at the 7 traits on the "Who We Look For" section of the TFA website and try to convey these traits in your answers. Good luck future TFA applicants :)
Interview Question – How do you stay organized? What's something you could do better as far as staying organized? Answer Question
Reason for Declining – Love TFA, but I was unable to relocate.
I applied through college or university and the process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America in September 2012.
Interview Details – Three tier interview. Long written application, including references. Followed by a phone interview, culminating in a 4 hour, practice class (where you teach a lesson), watch a video and comment, round table discussion, and 1 on 1 interview with the host.
Interview Question –
What would you do if...
You were teaching and you ran into a conflict with administrators, co-worker regarding testing, and your wanting to teach outside of what waas expected of you. View Answer
Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took 2+ months - interviewed at Teach for America in August 2012.
Interview Details –
It is an extensive process. TFA is selective, NOT competitive. There isn't an "x" number of people they choose for the corps every year, they choose everyone who is qualified (that is because some districts are so understaffed that they literally take as many corps members as TFA can give them). Thus, you are evaluated based on TFA's "bar", NOT compared to your peers. The selection rate (of around 11%) has gotten lower in recent years is because the number of applicants increased more than the number of qualified applicants.
The first step of the application is online (form, resume, essay), which is a primary screening to see a few things:
1) Do you have leadership experience? Do you have numbers to quantify its significance to an extent? (ex: how many people you managed/led, how big of a budget you dealt with, etc)
2) Do you understand TFA's mission? Are you really on board? Are you just looking for a place to boost your resume?
3) Are you a passionate person? Can you handle the work? Have you been through challenges?
If you come across as someone with these traits, you will move to the next stage in the process. I interned at recruitment the summer before I applied, so I learned a lot about what they were looking for. If you are especially strong in showing these on the initial application, you can even skip the next stage in the process and go straight to the final interview!
The second step is a phone interview. From what I've heard, they mainly try to get you to elaborate/flesh out the 3 things above based on what you submitted for the first step. Their website actually lists 7 "things", but some of the others don't become as important until the final stage of the interview process. Their list of 7 is below (taken from their website under the page "Who We Look For"):
-A deep belief in the potential of all kids and a commitment to do whatever it takes to expand opportunities for students
-Demonstrated leadership ability and superior interpersonal skills to motivate others
-Strong achievement in academic, professional, extracurricular, and/or volunteer settings
-Perseverance in the face of challenges, ability to adapt to changing environments, and a strong desire to do whatever it takes to improve and develop
-Excellent critical thinking skills, including the ability to accurately link cause and effect and to generate relevant solutions to problems
-Superior organizational ability, including planning well and managing responsibilities effectively
-Respect for individuals’ diverse experiences and the ability to work effectively with people from a variety of backgrounds
If you move forward to the final interview stage, the rumors are that they usually take about 50% of the remaining candidates and actually accept them into the corps. However, that number could change drastically from year to year based on how they choose candidates (read first paragraph to review this).
The final interview is intense. Beforehand, they will have you complete an online activity. They force you to sign a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the specifics of that, so I will honor that here. If you focus and take it seriously, you shouldn't have any problems.
The final interview is in-person and is a full day. In the beginning, they have you in an interview group of a max of 10. Each candidate teaches a 5 minute lesson to their "class", which is the rest of the interview group. The time limit is very strict (they will stop you if you're not finished). The purpose is not to impress them with the complex data you can communicate, or to prove you're already a teacher, but to show that you know how to communicate to a class in the teaching environment.
After the lessons are finished, there is a group discussion activity. They want to see that you can make valuable contributions to the discussion while not dominating and make sure that an outcome is compiled by the end of the time limit.
After that, you sign up for a one-on-one interview slot and have an interview for about 30 minutes (some are shorter, but not usually longer than that). During the one-on-one, they ask a lot of questions about your resume, why you want to be in TFA, and if you think you can handle the demanding environment. They also do a scenario of some sort than involves talking with a school administrator about implementing a new program.
Then, you're done!
They are implementing a new program this year in which you can apply as a college junior to start working after your senior year. If you do not get accepted, they will give you some sort of feedback and let you apply for the fall of your senior year so that you can have another chance to still work in the same corps and apply twice. I'm not sure of the other details of that program, but I would highly recommend it if you are a college junior that feels like TFA could be the right fit for you!
Interview Question – Most unexpected: Have you ever missed a deadline? View Answer
Negotiation Details –
There isn't much negotiation. You submit your preferences when you apply, so they know what you want.
Your offer comes with the content you will be teaching, your grade level range (elem, middle, or high school), and the region (most are cities, some are geographically larger, see their website for details). There are cases where they will make changes for you, but they try all they can not to switch you. If you tell them you will not do the program unless you are switched and they are able to feasibly make the switch, the history I've seen is that they will. It is still very difficult to do, though. Also, none of it is guaranteed and it could switch. This is the case because your placement depends on the district and their needs, which change often. Teach for America does everything they can to get you where your original offer is, but since it is ultimately out of their control, that doesn't always happen. At the end of the day, if you're there to make an impact for kids, it doesn't matter where you are or what you teach. If you are a "professional" (meaning not just out of college), and you have a mortgage or a family to care for or a spouse with a job that limits your regional options they WILL do all they can to honor that. They honestly don't care where your boyfriend/girlfriend is unless you are engaged.
Also, on the form for your regional preferences, you can place regions into categories of highly preferred, preferred, and least preferred. You only need to put 10 regions, so if you have a specific desire for a region, only put 10 regions and only put the ones you really want in the "highly preferred" column. I say this because if they decide to make you an offer, they decide that before they consider the region. They want you to accept your offer, so if they choose you don't be afraid to make it clear which region you want to be in. I did this and was a later applicant and was surprised that I got my 2nd choice, which was a very popular choice (Los Angeles).
The process took 3 days - interviewed at Teach for America in June 2010.
Interview Details – I submitted my resume on the organization's website. Within four days, I received an email requesting a phone interview a couple of days later. I scheduled the 30-minute interview two weeks later based on a date range they provided. My interview confirmation email included two documents with details about the organization and its values. A week after my HR phone interview (about 20 days into the process), I received an email from the Program Director in the office that I had applied to. She wanted to schedule a second interview and provided two exercises to complete in preparation for the interview. The second interview was scheduled for the following week (26 days into the process). It went well, for the most part. I distinctly recall a portion where I stumbled, which is likely why I wasn't offered the position, despite having considerable relevant experience.
I applied online and the process took 1 week - interviewed at Teach for America in May 2010.
Interview Details – Because my interview was over the phone, I didn't get a sense for the work culture, but I'm a big fan of the organization. The position was with TFA's summer institute to train new corps members. The interviewer was cordial, but from the beginning, the position didn't seem to be a great fit.
I applied online and the process took 2+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2009.
Interview Details – The interview process is quite strenuous, but it seems like if you read over the common interview questions posted on this website, you should be able to get through the phone interview pretty easily. On the phone interview, they will go over your experience, some challenges you have faced and how well organized you are
Interview Question – Tell me about an obstacle that you overcame. Answer Question
Very Difficult Interview
I applied online and the process took 4 weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2009.
Interview Details – 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.
Negotiation Details – 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.
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