Teach for America Interview Questions | Glassdoor

Teach for America Interview Questions

Updated Apr 21, 2017
757 Interview Reviews

Experience

Experience
66%
22%
10%

Getting an Interview

Getting an Interview
76%
11%
7%
2
1
0
0

Difficulty

3.4
Average

Difficulty

Hard
Average
Easy

Candidate Interview Reviews

Filter

Sort: Popular Date Difficulty

Filter

  1. Helpful (17)  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

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

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America (Los Angeles, CA) in March 2012.

    Interview

    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 Questions

    • Most unexpected: Have you ever missed a deadline?   1 Answer

    Negotiation

    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).


  2.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Columbus, OH
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America (Columbus, OH) in November 2011.

    Interview

    The interview process was tough. There was a phone interview and then the day long interview. Spent tons of time prepping, because this was the job I was looking for. Sadly, I was not offered a position, but feel the interview experience was overall positive.

    Interview Questions

    • Is there any reason you would have for leaving the program early if you were offered a position?   1 Answer

  3.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America in May 2012.

    Interview

    It was very hard.

    Interview Questions


  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Interview Review


  5.  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Employee in Raleigh, NC
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America (Raleigh, NC) in November 2010.

    Interview

    We had to first complete a lengthy application. It included a cover letter and a resume along with different questions. Then we had to complete an online activity that included reading articles and answering questions dealing with different situations.
    The in person interview took about a day and included group activities and discussions as well as a sample lesson.

    Interview Questions


  6. Helpful (1)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America in March 2011.

    Interview

    TFA is very clear about their interview process. All the rules, requirements, etc. are noted. They even provide online seminars for potential interviewees for help. I have nothing but wonderful things to say about my TFA interview experience.

    Interview Questions

    Reasons for Declining

    I did not end up getting the city I desired, and I chose to decline my offer noting that I would potentially apply again in the future.


  7.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 4+ weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

    Interview

    I had an enjoyable interview process, and let me tell you people aren't kidding around when they say it is a competitive process. Everyone was very polite and personable, and I felt like I did great on my interview.

    Although I did not get an offer, I have nothing but positive things to say about the whole process. Other than the fatigue that sets in from waiting for the entire interview process to conclude (its easy to start getting nervous with anticipation), the staff and the recruiters did their very best to make the experience as informative and adventurous as possible.

    Interview Questions

    • What, if anything, would cause you to quit the program?   Answer Question

  8.  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 6 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America in October 2010.

    Interview

    Skills test, then phone interview, then had an all day 1:1 interview.

    Interview Questions


  9. Helpful (2)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Washington, DC
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied online. The process took 2+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America (Washington, DC) in November 2010.

    Interview

    Teach for America is a seemingly great program. They offer college graduates an excellent forum to put off the real world, while adding a goldmine to their resume. With that said, TFA is not respected amongst the teaching community, and they are more interested in adding people with rockstar resumes, than people who might actually be a good teacher (hence, education majors cannot apply). The program is backwards.

    TFA is famous for stringing people along. They receive more applicants than just about any job, so it is difficult to make each step of the process. It consists of an initial application with essay, a short question/answer online "test", a phone interview, and an intensive all day interview with a practice lesson. While this may sound easy, candidates at each stage are cut for not apparent reason.

    It is an extremely difficult process for a college senior who is likely going through his first application, and is largely unfair. I would avoid the TFA headache, because even if accepted into the program, be ready for a 2 year nightmare which a high percentage of participants soon hate.

    Interview Questions

    • What would lead you to quitting TFA?   1 Answer

  10. Helpful (1)  

    Teacher Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through a recruiter. The process took 4+ months. I interviewed at Teach for America in March 2011.

    Interview

    Long process. The interviews were fun and exciting, but definitely require stamina to remain engaged.

    Interview Questions


  11. Helpful (2)  

    Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    No Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview

    Application

    I applied through college or university. The process took 4 weeks. I interviewed at Teach for America in December 2010.

    Interview

    The initial interview is a phone interview with a TFA alum that's generally behavioral. It's basically a screening interview to make sure you have an idea of what you're getting into and also that you're passionate about the problems that TFA is trying to address.

    The final interview is hard. It consists of a five-minute lesson plan that you must prepare ahead of time and "teach" it to the particular group you're assigned to for this interview round. Next, you'll take part of a group discussion centered around the readings that they ask you to read in preparation beforehand. Then, you'll take a written test that's really easy if you're good with numbers and data. Finally, you'll do a one-on-one interview with one of your interviewers from the previous group interview. They tell you right away that there are no quotas (this is true) so you're not competing against each other for a limited number of spots, but some people still act like they need to take you out in order to do well, especially during the group discussion. Just keep your cool and be assertive but don't stoop to their level.

    I think, in the end, while I was really passionate about the issues around education inequality in our country, the experience just wasn't for me. And they saw that. You really need to look before you leap on this one. Do your research, make sure this is something you'd really want, and get lots of second opinions before deciding to go ahead with this.

    Interview Questions

    • Given that the kind of environment you would be working in as a teacher would be very challenging, how would you deal with burning out during your two years?   Answer Question

See What Teach for America Employees Are Saying

Corps Member

Star Star Star Star Star   Former Corps Member in Cold Spring, NY

Pros: “Overall, it was a great experience.”“Overall, it was a great experience.” – Full Review

Don't Miss Out On a Job You Love
Upload a resume to easily apply to jobs from anywhere. It's simple to set up.