6 Questions (and Answers!) About Your Interview
Here are answers to six frequently asked questions about how to best prepare for interview day.
August 1, 2017
With so many things to prepare, Teach For America’s interview day can seem overwhelming. As long as you follow our prep guidelines, you’ll do great. Read on to find answers to some frequently asked questions.
1. HOW LONG WILL MY INTERVIEW LAST?
We recommend setting aside a full eight hours for your interview. The first part of the day will be the group portion, where you’ll complete a sample teaching lesson and participate in a group activity with other applicants. The second part of the day will be a one-on-one interview with you and a member of our staff. Your actual interview day will be over after this personal interview, so if your interview is earlier, your day will end earlier. While you can’t sign up for a personal interview time before your interview day, applicants work out what times work best for everyone during the first part of the day. If you have a later interview time, and you’re interviewing in-person, you can leave your interview site, get lunch, or talk with other applicants. If you’re interviewing virtually, you can log off and just come back at your scheduled personal interview time.
2. I WASN’T ABLE OT GET ALL OF MY DOCUMENTS UPLOADED BY THE DEADLINE, SHOULD I STILL ATTEND?
Yes, absolutely! Hopefully you’ll be able to upload them as soon as possible, but you should definitely still attend your interview in the meantime. However, you should not bring your documents with you to the interview day, as your interviewers are unable to collect them. Just be sure to upload everything as soon as you can.
3. WHO ARE MY INTERVIEWERS?
Your interviewers will be TFA staff members. Some of your interviewers might also be Teach For America alumni. During your interview, you’ll be able to ask them questions about their experience in the classroom if they were corps members, and about TFA’s mission and work.
4. HOW BIG WILL ME INTERVIEW GROUP BE?
Most of our interview days have ten applicants and two interviewers. It’s possible that your interview day might be slightly smaller or larger though. If you’re interviewing in-person and planning on making copies for your sample teaching lesson, we suggest making 14 total—it’s always better to have extra. If you’re in-person, you’ll wear name tags during the day. In virtual interviews, you can see each applicant's name on the screen so you’ll be able to easily call on your “students” during your lesson.
5. HOW SHOULD I PREPARE MY SAMPLE TEACHING LESSON IF I’M INTERVIEWING VIRTUALLY?
The virtual and in-person sample lessons have the same requirements and standards: you are teaching a five-minute lesson in any subject area to any grade level ages pre-K through 12. The main thing to keep in mind for virtual interviews is to plan your lesson with the virtual format in mind. For example, during your lesson you’ll control the screen and can share files, programs, or your computer’s desktop. There is a chat feature that allows you to chat with your group of students, and a virtual whiteboard that allows you to type and draw and allows your students to do the same. Your “students” will also watch you on your webcam, but keep in mind your visibility is somewhat limited to what is in frame, so we strongly encourage applicants to utilize the virtual features offered.
6. WHAT WILL MY INTERVIEW ROOM AND GROUP INTERVIEW BE LIKE? WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME?
Since all of our in-person interview spaces are generously donated, this can vary widely. We have interview spaces at universities, offices, conference centers, and more. You can verify if your interview room has a whiteboard in it by checking the Interview Details and Directions page on the Applicant Center.
If your lesson relies on any kind of technology, you’ll have to bring that yourself since we can’t guarantee the space will have the required equipment (e.g. a projector or computer). You’ll also have to set it up in your one-minute prep period—be sure to consider this when planning your lesson. The group activity will be the part of the day where you’ll work with your other applicants on solving a problem that real corps members and school districts face. There’s no prep required—just come ready to discuss and problem solve.
Still have questions? Check out the Help Tool on the Applicant Center.
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