By Michelle Schmid
A few weeks ago, in my hunt for a future after college, I had the pleasant opportunity of interviewing with Teach for America. Perhaps you’ve heard about Teach for America in e-mails from the university, in books, even occasionally from your high school teacher. And what’s not intriguing about a non-profit two-year program that allows you the opportunity to teach and work on your master’s degree and make a difference? However, the entire application process isn’t what you might be expecting, especially for a professional job. Here are seven insights into the application process for Teach for America that might help you approach the process.
- Online Application: Conveniently enough, the entire process happens on the web. This includes the original application, recommendations, interview scheduling, your status in the process, and many other helpful details and directions. Because of the status option, this means that you do not need to call Teach for America to check up on your application, unlike other jobs you might apply for.
- Written Responses: The initial application has several questions that require a written response. Make sure to allow plenty of time for each answer. This is a concrete sample of your writing skills.
- Two Interviews: Not that out-there as far as professional jobs go, but it is good to remember and prepare accordingly. A lot of the time, the first interview is a phone interview which helps screen applicants further than the original application. This dual interview process also lengthens the admittance time, so be prepared for a longer journey.
- Pre-Work: The application process requires you to become familiarized with articles that address educational issues. It’s important to take the time read and learn about all the information that you receive because it is relevant to understanding Teach for America’s mission.
- Group Interview: Don’t let the idea of other potential employees being present disturb you. The final interview splits the day into two, and the morning has you interact with other applicants. However, this work is strictly non-competitive, so don’t spend your time worrying about comparing yourself to those around you and focus on your own performance instead.
- Five Minute Lesson: Another aspect of the final interview is teaching a five-minute lesson to the entire group. You get to pick what you teach, the age group you are teaching, and the subject. Basically, it’s like a mock classroom experience. To keep within the time limit, however, go for simplicity in your lesson. You want to be able to show how you interact with a classroom when there are questions, and questions require extra time.
- Details Matter: When it comes to the second half of the final interview and even the phone interview, remember how important details can be. A great way to prepare for these interviews is the use of the STAR method, which will tell your interviewer quite a bit about how you deal with situations and produce outcomes.