Skip to main content

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your TFA Interview

Congratulations! You’re almost to the finish line.

Teach For America Interview

By Alexzandria Cormier-Hill

March 5, 2020

It’s now time to seal the deal with a stellar interview!

Our final interview provides a unique opportunity for you to share your unique story, discuss your professional skills, and affirm your dedication to a shared mission to end educational inequity. Before you step into the hot seat, here are a few questions to ask yourself so you’re calm, collected, and self-assured during your Teach For America interview. 

Basic Job Interview Questions to Revisit 

As with any job interview, you want to make sure you have the basics down: What does the organization do, what is its mission, how can you advance the vision—and, how can it help you achieve your career goals? We’ll walk you through a few questions that can help you assess and clarify why and how Teach For America could be your next and best professional move.

What does Teach For America do?

TFA finds and trains outstanding leaders—known as corps members—who are committed to expanding educational opportunities for all students. By teaching in our partner schools, you’ll be able to integrate your diverse background, varied career goals, and passion for social impact into the classroom to enhance the scope of every student’s education while further developing your own professional skills.

How does teaching align with my career trajectory and desire to work in social impact?

If you can’t see yourself as a teacher, you’re not alone. Before joining Teach For America, only one in five corps members planned to become a teacher and only 10 percent were education majors. But the corps experience brought them face-to-face with the challenges facing our schools and instilled in them a lifelong commitment to working on behalf of their students. Today, nearly 80 percent of alumni report they are working in education or careers serving low-income communities.

My Original Plans

These alumni and corps members weren’t all planning to go into education. They were going to be psychologists, FBI agents, and dancers. Here’s how their Teach For America corps experience disrupted their careers and inspired them to dedicate their lives to expanding opportunity for children.

With our comprehensive training, onboarding, teacher coaching, peer mentorship, and professional development opportunities, TFA can elevate the way you teach and how you see yourself as a leader and student advocate not only in the education sector but also in the fields of law, medicine, government, business, tech, media, and more.

How does educational inequity impact my future?

The breadth and impact of an inadequate education not only hurts a singular community but an entire nation. When children receive a sub-par education, important leaders of the future are deprived of opportunity, susceptible to experience economic instability, and are left without critical thinking skills. Consequently, as students transition into adulthood, they run the risk of lacking knowledge, decision-making power, leverage, and the access needed to properly influence the systems that negatively affect them. Potential is spread equally but because of educational inequity, many students don’t have the opportunity to fulfill their potential and that leaves all of us deprived.

“I saw families who had struggled with homelessness for years and individuals suddenly battling homelessness alongside the other traumas they carried. What they shared was being trapped inside systems of inequity and injustice. I hoped that, by becoming a teacher, I could help prevent people from ever falling into these painful, difficult situations I saw.”

Rebecca Ain
New York Corps Member 2013

Teach For America alumni like activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham (D.C. Region ’07), head of Google education strategy Michael Hamamoto Tribble (Bay Area ’13), attorney Laura Komarek (New Orleans ’11), State Senator Bill Ferguson (Baltimore ’05), and social entrepreneur Reyna Montoya (Phoenix ’14) are aware of the systemic inequities that influence the quality of education a child receives. They continuously work to close the opportunity gap for the students impacted. 

Introspective Questions to Ask Before Your Job Interview

Once you’ve assessed if TFA aligns with your career aspirations, it’s time to move on to more introspective questions that will help you affirm why you started this journey in the first place. While we’re eager to talk to you about joining the Teach For America family, we want to make sure this is a good match for you as well. 

Does Teach For America’s mission integrate social causes, leadership skills, and career interests I care about?

Many TFA corps members and alumni credit their classroom experience as a pivotal moment in their personal life and trajectory. They go onto careers they never would have considered previously.

While creating lesson plans, cultivating classroom engagement, leading grade-level committees, supporting students outside the classroom, and building relationships, you may also encounter a variety of inequities that seep into the classroom. Tackling food insecurity, homelessness, climate change and home displacement, unemployment, deportation, inaccessible technology, limited healthcare, bullying, and marginalization based on identity are just some issues that will call for your attention. 

As you learn to approach both the educational and social inequitable sides of teaching, you’ll gain transferrable skills like problem-solving, decision-making, public speaking, project management, patience, agility, rapport building, and much more. TFA leaders have used these skills in the classroom and across all sectors to continue student advocacy.

Through understanding and active listening, you’ll be able to find a cause that fuels your passion for leadership and social impact. By partnering with students, parents, fellow TFA corps members, school leaders, and community members, you’ll be joining a coalition of changemakers ready to support you in your journey.

Interview Prep Questions For the Big Day: 

So, you’ve addressed how Teach For America aligns with your career goals and why you are passionate about finding solutions to educational inequity. Now, it’s time to solidify your story as to why you want to become a TFA corps member.

Does my resume or experience demonstrate my passion for educational equity?

Take a good look at your resume and give your experience some thought. Think about the things that reflect the causes you advocate for. It can be a job you’ve held, a volunteer opportunity you’ve participated in, a committee you’ve formed, a leadership position you’ve held in your student or professional organization, a publication you’ve written for, a conference you’ve attended. 

Once you have 2-3 things in mind, expound on how those personal and professional experiences could positively expand students’ perspectives of success, identity, and opportunities available to them.

Am I ready? 

Of course, you are! Lastly, please ensure that you have completed all of the required actions ahead of the interview day. Everything you need is featured on the Applicant Center. To dive into more FAQs about the interview day, click here!

This is your time to shine. If you need a little insight (and inspiration) to what the interview will be like, check out our "What to Expect At Your Teach For America Interview" video to hear what past applicants had to say about their interview process.

You’re going to do great! We’ll see you in the interview.