Teach for America TFA Corps Member Interview Questions & Reviews

Updated Aug 18, 2014
Updated Aug 18, 2014
44 interviews

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1 person found this helpful  

TFA Corps Member Interview

Anonymous Interview Candidate
Anonymous Interview Candidate
Application Details

I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 5 months - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2012.

Interview Details

I spent 2-3 weeks on the online application as it requires a ton of paper work. There was a lot of lag time since I had to wait on my university to send back documents. The essay also took a lot of time and thought. All of this time paid off because I got promoted directly passed the phone interview and to the in person interview. Since I didn't have a phone interview, I cannot speak much to that. What I do know is that they try to gage your interest/passion for the movement to close the achievement gap.
The interview was behavioral. These are the questions I remember:
How do you keep yourself organized?
The interviewer used highlights from my resume and then asked me to speak about them to specific questions. I ensured that I connected my experience to how that could help me in the classroom. Additionally, to prepare for the interview, I had TFA's core values in mind, and tried to make connections to those core values in an indirect way (without saying the actual word or value). For example, explaining a time of failure or weakness demonstrates humility.
The mock lesson plan was simple if you prepare properly and remain focused in your presentation. The 10-11 other applicants and the 2 interviewers are your mock students. Objective (3 types of nouns), example/direct teaching, do the learning together, then the students try on their own, last you must measure in some way the student's mastery of the objective.
The person who interviewed me had a senior position on TFA staff. She remains one of my favorite people that I met at TFA, and she actually supported me while I was teaching for the 2 years.

Interview Questions
  • Role Play Scenario - You have 15 minutes to read a scenario and prepare your argument. I was a teacher asking to start a student government club at the school. The interviewer played the principle. She was very closed-minded, shutting down my ideas, and forced me to quickly problem solve on my feet.   Answer Question
Negotiation Details
Ask questions about your placement, potential schools, and ask how you can ensure that you will be with other TFA members at your placement school.
Accepted Offer
Positive Experience
Average Interview

Other Interview Reviews for Teach for America

  1.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 2 months - interviewed at Teach for America.

    Interview Details

    The interviewing process was very clear and concise. It starts with a phone screening, then the second round was a panel phone interview, and ended with an in-person sample teaching.

    Interview Questions
    • It was a scenario on difficulties potentially facing when advocating for student programming and the school has a small budget.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    N/A
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  2.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 4+ weeks - interviewed at Teach for America in April 2013.

    Interview Details

    Incredibly intense interview process. Very detailed. phone interview followed by in person panel and one on one interview. Role play and moch meetings. Be prepared with questions and with good conversation. Teaching the lesson isn't as bad as it seems.

    Interview Questions
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  3.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Cambridge, MA (US)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Cambridge, MA (US)
    Application Details

    I interviewed through college or university - interviewed at Teach for America in February 2010.

    Interview Details

    It's been about five years, so my memory is a little fuzzy but as I recall: I submitted my application online during the third application cycle and was notified a few days later that I was accepted for a 15 minute phone interview. After this interview, I was notified that I had moved on to the next phase of the interview cycle, an all-day interview. This interview was broken down into different parts: a five minute sample lesson, a group interview and problem solving session, and an individual interview. The five minute sample lesson will be with a small group of about 10 people, who all get up and teach for a short time on the topic of their choosing. TFA generally conducts these interviews in a place with a white board and will provide everyone with dry erase markers to write on the board. A few people in my group were fancy and had prepared worksheets for the group or an experiment. I didn't do this; however, I later found out that a lot of people in the New Orleans corps had. The next part of my interview day consisted of a short group interview and problem solving session with the same group as during the sample lessons. As I remember, we were given a short prompt on the achievement gap and had to respond to written questions and then were asked to have a group discussion and answer oral questions. I think TFA was just looking for people who weren't afraid of participating and who didn't display any biases against minorities or the socioeconomically disadvantaged. After this, we were notified that the group portion of the interview had ended and asked to sign up for a time later on in the day for our individual interview. We were also given a classroom situation that we would be asked about in the individual interview. I can't remember exactly, but I think the classroom situation was one of the first portions of the individual interview. My recommendation on this would be to come up with as many solutions to the problems as possible. The interviewer is going to keep questioning your solution and posing hypotheticals that would make it impossible, so the more solutions you can come up with the better. After this, the interview moved on to more standard interview questions for the rest of the time. I do recall my interviewer being particularly emotionless and typing the entire time during the interview, which I was later told they are instructed to do. Basically, the entire time you are being interviewed a TFA staff member is filling out a huge rubric and depending on how you score determines whether or not you are offered a job.

    Interview Questions
    • My interviewer asked a lot of questions about what I would do or how I would respond in classroom scenarios. This is difficult to do when you have never set foot in a classroom. Just use what you think is good judgment and answer accordingly.   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    Since TFA does not pay corps members (school districts do), the only thing you can really negotiate on is where you are placed or what grade/subject you are teaching.TFA tries to make it seem like corps members have no power to negotiate on these matters, but the reality is that you do. I was offered a placement in my least preferred area, but was able to negotiate to be placed in another area. I know several other people in my school who did the same.
    Accepted Offer
    Neutral Experience
    Difficult Interview
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  5.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Madison, WI (US)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Madison, WI (US)
    Application Details

    I interviewed online - interviewed at Teach for America in January 2010.

    Interview Details

    Very interesting interview process. They ask you questions that get down to 1) your leadership qualities and experiences, 2) your organizational skills, and 3) your cultural competency. Each of them is hard to fake while you're in the interview, because it's hard to answer competently unless you can actually own it in real life as well.

    Interview Questions
    • The sample teach can be the most challenging part of the interview day for many, and most of the sample lessons I saw were pretty bad.   View Answer
    Negotiation Details
    Really easy. They basically tell you where you're going and you accept or decline.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  6.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate  in  Boston, MA (US)
    Anonymous Interview Candidate in Boston, MA (US)
    Application Details

    I interviewed through a recruiter. The process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in October 2011.

    Interview Details

    After initially being contacted by an on-campus recruiter, I attended multiple information sessions and several (3-4) sit-down informal conversations with the recruiter. TFA keeps a paper trail on applicants, so therefore, it is to your advantage to keep in contact via email and by attending these sessions. I applied to the earliest deadline and because of my continued contact with my recruiter, I was able to skip the phone interview and move immediately into the online short answer activity. The online activity consisted of several short answer questions regarding TFA's core values - specifically, diversity in the corps and in the classroom and humility in collaborating with other teachers and educators. There was a video question regarding a new teacher in a difficult situation with a veteran educator at school, and corps member responses to this series of questions were brought up during the final interview. I was invited to the final interview for which candidates prepare and deliver a 5-minute lesson. Also, all candidates participate in a series of whole-group and small-group activities that are centered around your online short answer responses.

    The 5-minute lesson is clearly the "make it or break it" component of the interview, as most candidates who have made it to this stage of the process are clearly qualified leaders both academically and professionally. Your 5-minute lesson should consist of a clear hook (opener) which quickly moves into your introduction to new material (INM). This should be short and concise, as you are introducing your topic to be mastered to the class. Within your introduction to new material, you should clearly state and write down your learning objective on the white board provided. Your objective is what students (your fellow interview candidates) will be able to master and demonstrate by the end of your lesson. From your introduction to new material, guide your "class" into whole-group practice of your learning objective. Whether this is identifying verbs in a sentence or describing the difference between mammals and insects, students must be able to practice as a whole-group with you, their "instructor, and amongst themselves, their "fellow classmates." Then, move into independent practice where individual corps members demonstrate their knowledge of the topic you have just taught. You absolutely must have an assessment piece at the end of your independent practice, which could be just 1-2 questions the candidates must answer to demonstrate your mastery of the objective. This could be on the worksheet or handout your provide them or given verbally. The size of your interview "class" will be about 12-15 candidates, so this is easily manageable. I highly suggest meeting and practicing with current teachers or using YouTube tutorials to model by yourself.

    Interview Questions
    • Your interviewers are almost always former corps members and/or recent TFA alumni, and they will open up the floor to candidate questions. They are very open and forthcoming with answering and detailing their own experiences in the corps. Your questions during this time will demonstrate your commitment to and knowledge of TFA, as well as what type of leader you will be in your classroom and region. Many of the candidates applying for spots in the incoming TFA corps are competitive, with past records of achievement and success in their respective fields. Make sure, therefore, that during open question time you clearly and deftly allow others to speak, demonstrate your own active listening skills, and do not hog the speaking time. This shows what type of corps member you will be, and TFA does not want braggarts who can't work or collaborate with others. This was also clearly the purpose of the whole-group and small-group activities; which corps members will be able to work with and for others while leading through action and example, and which candidates are attempting to control and regulate the situation? By the time you move to your final one-on-one interview, be sure to have several questions prepared and anecdotes about your past experiences as a leader and as a learner. TFA will invest in you only as much as you show you are willing to embrace and overcome obstacles - this is not an easy job, but instead very challenging yet rewarding. TFA wants to see your demonstrated experience at overcoming obstacles by problem solving, collaborating with others, and relentlessly pursuing your own goals. Also, I highly suggest coming in with region-specific questions and references to current corps members you know; they want to know that you are aware of what you're getting in to with TFA!   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    After receiving your acceptance offer to join the corps, you will be given your placement subject and/or region (possible). There is little negotiation with this unless you have a valid concern (upcoming marriage, family illness, etc...). Corps members from that specific region will contact you and answer any questions you may have leading up to you accepting your TFA offer.
    Accepted Offer
    Positive Experience
    Difficult Interview
  7.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online - interviewed at Teach for America in March 2014.

    Interview Details

    I applied online on whim because the deadline was approaching. It was mostly leadership and volunteer activities. A week or so later I was notified I was selected for a phone interview and an online application/test. The test was evaluating grades of "students" and finding out ways to improve education. The phone interview was weird - I've done a bunch of tutoring but the interviewer only wanted me to respond to her questions regarding one position that had nothing to do with education. I spent about 45 minutes trying to answer questions about this position and the questions didn't make sense.

    Interview Questions
    • What has been your greatest accomplishment?   View Answer
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Average Interview
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online. The process took 3 months - interviewed at Teach for America in December 2013.

    Interview Details

    The first step is the online application. After this I was invited to a phone interview and had to complete an online assessment. The phone interview was not bad, mostly asked about your leadership experiences. The assessment had you listen to a scenario and write a few responses. It also had a test that had you interpret charts and data. Next step was the in person interview. You had to teach a sample lesson plan in front of the group, then read an article and have a discussion, then you had a personal interview. The interview included a role play which was difficult and the interviewer was aggressive. Asked how it made me feel when I didn't get my way, how far would I push, what info did I wish I had? What would you do if you had an 8th grade class that read at a 3rd grade level, what would be your goal for them? How do you stay organized?

    Interview Questions
    No Offer
    Negative Experience
    Difficult Interview
  9.  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Employee
    Anonymous Employee
    Application Details

    I interviewed online - interviewed at Teach for America.

    Interview Details

    The lesson plan, group project and the interview were very straight forward. They really emphasized how "hard" working for TFA would be and told us that if we thought that the next year as a corps member would be easy, we shouldn't bother showing up to the final interview.

    Interview Questions
    • The classic - what's the biggest challenge you've faced?   Answer Question
    Declined Offer
    Positive Experience
    Average Interview
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    TFA Corps Member Interview

    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Anonymous Interview Candidate
    Application Details

    I interviewed online - interviewed at Teach for America.

    Interview Details

    During the process there is a general application, phone interview, and final interview. During the phone interview they ask you questions from your resume and times you have had to manage difficult situations. The people who call are very friendly and do not try to trick you. The more you talk about handing difficult situations=the better.

    In the final interview there are about 12 people who also interview with you. You do not have to compete with them (they can offer a position to all of you or none of you). You are asked to do a 5 minute "lesson plan," group problem solving, and a one on one interview.

    Interview Questions
    • During the final interview they give you a role playing situation in which you have to convince the "principal" (interviewer) that you should be allowed to take a group of students on a field trip (they give you road blocks as to why the trip couldn't be allowed).   Answer Question
    Negotiation Details
    None.
    Accepted Offer
    Average Interview

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