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Salt Lake City, UT

I applied online and the process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2010.

Interview Details – Focus on just the day long interview. When I went they were holding it for five days, and there were about 8 other people with me on that day. One of the interviewers was a former TFA teacher, the other was a manager of some sort who had never actually taught herself. You start by listening to their personal stories and asking general questions. Then you introduce yourself. Then we all take turns doing our sample lesson plan. I think the time limit was 10 minutes. Tips: About 2 people forgot to put their name, grade, and subject on the board, even though they reminded us several times before the start and this was part of the preparation instruction before interview day. Many people chose very low grade levels with simple tasks like how to tell time or how to count change. In my opinion, this just shows you are uncreative and intimidated because the example they give before interview day is something like this. I think about 6 didn't finish, and for 5 of them that was because they tried to get too complicated for just 10 minutes. One kid picked something rather complex from physics, and I think he got bonus points from the looks on the interviewer's faces even though he didn't even get to the part where he explained his worksheet. Dress: The two men came in slacks and ties. Half the women wore business suits and the other half wore very conservative dresses. One interviewer wore a party dress and the other wore slacks and a nice cotton shirt. The next part was a multiple choice quiz involving basic math, table reading (ie gradebooks), and problem solving. Some of the questions involved the same scenario for up to 3 questions, which involved a narrative and a chart and/or table. There were also some essay questions at the end. It was a timed test and I noticed that about half were still writing at time up. If you have ever taken an AP or standardized test before, then you will know to watch the clock and how to best budget your time. Then we were supposed to collaborate to solve a problem scenario they told us. Everyone had their own sheet of paper with the scenario and proposed solutions for its 2 parts. Someone was supposed to volunteer to be the scribe, and their paper had everyone's name on it. I volunteered for this, and I'm not sure if that was a good idea. You spend more time transcribing than participating, and it feels like a double-edged sword because the interviewers are also taking notes and I'm sure they want to see how accurately you portray the conversation. After that it's lunch break and you sign up for times to come back for the 1:1. The interview starts pretty typically. Again, they focused on only one of my jobs. I wonder if I perhaps talked about the other job too much. They refer to the transcript from your phone interview often. Then they play a "role-playing" scenario. In mine, I was to play a new teacher who was teaching Romeo and Juliet. The class enjoyed the discussions we had about the work. However, the school just spent lots of money on new computer software to teach the kids grammar drills. The kids hated them and wanted to spend more time reading Romeo and Juliet. I was supposed to come up with a solution to the problem and propose it to the principal, which the interviewer played. Basically, there is no way to win at this role playing. Every idea you bring up gets shot down rudely, and every now and again the "principal" suggests you are just a naive new teacher who doesn't understand how things roll. My strategy was to just push through until the end (when the interviewer finally said, "Okay, that's enough"). I'm not sure that's the best strategy. I could see some spineless types breaking down at this part or even someone just stopping in shock at the rudeness and curtness of the so-called principal, especially when they figure out there is no way to "win." But this is just my take. Supposedly, 18% become TFA members, but that depends on the number of applicants and if those numbers are even trustable (again, we are supposedly sworn to secrecy about the process).

Interview Question – Was there ever a time at your current job that you had an irresolvable conflict?   View Answer

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