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Preparing for the Case Activity in your TFA Interview

A Close Up Image of a Man Holding a Red Pen Grading Papers in a Notebook

By The TFA Editorial Team

January 30, 2024

Here are some suggestions to help you prepare specifically for the Teach For America case activity scenario during your  interview process. To learn more about other unique components of the TFA interview and how to prepare holistically, please visit a more general overview here.

Your Teach For America interview is made up of three main components: the sample lesson, a case activity, and a more traditional individual interview. If invited to an interview, you’ll engage in all of these components within the same 90-minute period; your final interview. The following tips are to aid you in preparing specifically for the case activity.

1. Review the Prep Materials 

Once invited to an interview, additional information about the case activity will be provided to you through the Applicant Center. You’ll then have access to review a scenario related to eliminating racial discipline disparities as well as a corresponding data set. We estimate that applicants should spend approximately 45 minutes to an hour preparing for the case activity in advance of the interview. 

Please ensure to review all the available materials in order to shape your proposal.

2. Consider Your Audience 

The case activity asks applicants to reflect on a scenario and draft a proposal for a school principal. Therefore, you should keep in mind that your proposal should be geared toward a discussion with a school leader, however, you will not be role-playing this presentation with your interviewer. To learn more about how your interviewer will engage during all parts of the interview, please visit this FAQ.

3. Prepare Your Response 

We encourage applicants to prepare their proposal just as they would prepare to answer any interview question. Discussing the case activity will take approximately 10 minutes during your interview and you should come prepared to not only share your perspective, but to engage in follow up questions from your interviewer. While there isn’t a strict time limit, like the 5 minute sample lesson, we still encourage you to practice presenting your proposal ahead of time and to consider potential follow up questions.

4. Remember the Scope  

As you know, many of our nation’s schools face complex and urgent issues, such as racial discipline disparities. The educational challenges our country faces are deeply rooted. Solving them will take many interventions from many directions over a prolonged period of time. And while we are asking you to present a solutions-based proposal, know that it is just that, a proposal. This activity is an opportunity to bring ideas to the table and engage with your interviewer about real issues.

5. Craft a Proposal That is Authentic to You

We hope that in preparing for this activity, you create a proposal that is authentic to you and your leadership style. There is not one “right” way to respond or a specific idea that our selection committee is looking for you to surface. Instead, we want you to focus on thinking critically about the scenario and present a proposal that reflects your approach to problem-solving.

Have questions? Explore our Frequently Asked Questions section.

*As a reminder, all aspects of your application must be your own individual work. Any response or presentation that is not completely your own work will automatically call your application into question per our falsification or misrepresentation policy and may result in immediate dismissal from the application process or corps.

Need guidance on how to prepare for other components of your final interview? 



This article was originally published in 2021. The publish date reflects the most recent update.