Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What's Next?

As our third deadline applicants wait for their admissions decision on January 8 there are undoubtedly a lot of questions about what happens if you are invited to join the corps. Will you be assigned a specific subject? What’s summer training like? When will you meet your regional team? Read on to find answers to some of our most frequently asked questions!

On January 8, some time after 8 p.m. ET, you'll receive an email from Teach For America letting you know your admissions status is available on the Applicant Center. When you log on to the Applicant Center you'll be asked to complete a short survey before finding out your regional and subject assignment. Once you’ve found out your assignment, take some time to find out more about your region, think about what it means to join the corps, and talk to someone from Teach For America (you’ll be contacted by a staff member in a few days). Remember, you don’t have to officially accept your offer until January 21, so take advantage of your time and learn as much as you can!

Your Regional Assignment
Other than your actual admissions decision, your regional assignment is probably something you’re thinking a lot about. We put in a lot of time and effort in figuring out your regional assignment. We look at a variety of factors: first and foremost we look at what our regions need, then we of course look at your preferences and what you’re eligible to teach based on your coursework and regional requirements. While we do our best, we are not always able to match preferences with placement. Teacher placement is ultimately designed to maximize corps members’ impact on student outcomes. If you aren’t placed in your most highly preferred region we encourage you to learn more about your assigned region and be open-minded about the possibility of teaching there. Your regional team will be your best resource for answering your questions about certification, hiring, testing, and institute.

Your Subject Assignment
In addition to your regional assignment, you’ll also be given your subject assignment. Your subject assignment will be fairly general, such “elementary” or “middle school math.” We can’t tell you more than that because your subject placement won’t happen until you are actually hired by a school. Once you’re hired by a school your principal will tell you what exactly you’ll be teaching, such as 8th grade world history. To find out more about the difference between your subject and your placement, read our post from our assignment mastermind Caroline Charrow.

Your School
As I mentioned above, you will not be placed in a specific school on January 8. It will be up to you to interview and be hired by a school in your region. Your region will help in sending your resume out and setting up interviews. You’ll then interview during your regional induction, institute, and possibly during your regional orientation as well. Your region will work with you throughout the summer to ensure you’re hired and have a classroom waiting for you in the fall. Once you’re offered a position from a school, that’s your placement! Accepting your first offer from a school is important to our relationships with schools, districts, and principals.

Summer Training
The first part your corps commitment will be your regional induction. This will be held in your region and it’ll be your first introduction to your regional team, your new community, and your fellow corps members! From there, you’ll head to institute, which may be held in your placement region or may be held in a different region. If you haven’t you should read more about your summer training institute. You’ll live at your institute site, teach a summer school course at a local school, and take classes for these six weeks. After institute you’ll head back to your region for your orientation (if you weren't there already), and then it’s on the classroom, where the fun really begins!

Remember, if you’re invited to join the corps you’ll receive a lot more information about your region and institute. For our third deadline applicants, be sure to register for our upcoming online event, RSVP links can be found on the Applicant Center!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

While You Wait...

Our third deadline applicants finished their interviews last week, which now means it's time for...waiting. If you're a third deadline applicant you'll be notified of your final admissions decision on January 8, which means you have a few weeks with no required actions! But we want you to use that time to your advantage! What does that mean exactly? It means we hope you'll take this additional time to think about why you want to do this work, what it would mean for you to be admitted to the corps, and also what it would mean to you if you were not admitted to the corps this year.

To help you with that, we'll be hosting a few online events that will give you some guidance and opportunities to hear more about our work and the work of our partners and corps members.
  • Our first event "Our Partners" will feature some of the non-profit organizations we partner with. They'll take time to discuss their work, programs, and mission. This is a great opportunity to learn more about other groups that are doing exceptional work and to consider other opportunities should you not be invited to join the corps this year.
  • Our next event is "Stories From the Corps" which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like! It will feature current corps members who will share reflections, insights, and true stories about their time in the classroom, including the ups and downs. This is a great chance to hear from actual teachers and you'll get the chance to ask questions.
  • Our final event will take place in early January: "Admitted? Rejected? What's Next?" This event will discuss two pathways. The first: what happens if you're not invited to join the corps? We'll discuss ways to improve your application, other opportunities to explore, and thinking about applying in future years (many of our applicants do). The second part of the event will look at what if you are admitted to the corps? We'll talk about considering your offer, summer training, and preparing to enter the classroom next fall

You can register for each event on your Applicant Center, and if you can't attend, come back here a few days after to hear a recording. Whether or not you attend our events, we do encourage you to take the next few weeks and reflect. Think about what doing this work means to you, why you want to be in the classroom, and the impact you can have whether you're with Teach For America or pursuing other opportunities.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Preparing For Your Final Interview

If you're one of our third deadline applicants preparing for your interview next week, you may have questions about your required documents, what your interview day will be like, or how best to prepare.

Be sure to review the Applicant Center for all your required actions and listen to our recording of last week's "Preparing For Your Final Interview" online event.

Good luck at your interview!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Don't Forget: Your Online Activity Is Due Wednesday!

If you were invited to a final interview, by now you've probably already logged on to the Applicant Center to start your next steps. All applicants invited to continue in the application process must complete our Online Activity by November 12 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Here are a few tips so that you can complete this activity and cross it off your checklist!

1.Complete it as soon as you can. Why? It’s always better to get things done early. Plus, if you experience any technical difficulties, we can help you!

2.Set aside about two hours to complete the activity. It consists of two sections, one thirty minute multiple-choice section, and one untimed short answer section. When completing the untimed short answer portion, most people find they spend around five-eight minutes on each short answer question (around 150 words). But don’t stress if one question takes you four minutes or another takes you ten. This part is untimed! Relax and do your best!

3.Before sitting down to do the activity, ask yourself:
  • “Do I have a good internet connection?”
  • “Am I using a supported browser?” (Psst… our supported browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox)
  • “Have I read the directions?” (Seriously. Read them. They’re pretty handy.)

4. If you experience technical difficulties, try a few things first:
  • Log out of the Applicant Center and log back in using a different browser (Ex: if you’re using Chrome, try Firefox and vice versa)
  • Try accessing from a different computer.
  • If you’re having technical difficulties (loss of Internet, computer malfunction, etc.) completing Part I, go the Help tool on your Applicant Center and complete our Online Activity Help Request Form, the more details the better. While you wait for our response, you should still be able to work on Part II.
  • If you accidentally click out and close your browser before you finish the activity, log back on to the Applicant Center and click the link again. Be advised that your time will continue to run on Part I, so you should return to the activity as quickly as possible.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Notifications, (yes plural) Have Happened!

What a way to end October! Today our first, second, and third deadline applicants were notified!

First and Second Deadline Applicants
If you were accepted to the corps, congratulations! You're probably feeling excited, anxious, overwhelmed or maybe a combination of the three! All of that is perfectly normal. You don't have to decide right away if you're going to accept your offer. Read through the Applicant Center, learn about your region, attend an online event, and talk to a Teach For America staff member. You have until November 12 at 6 p.m. ET to confirm or decline, and we give you this time to really think your offer through. While we hope you'll accept, take your time to learn more about the commitment and about your role in the corps.

We also want to extend a big THANK YOU to all of our first and second deadline applicants. We know the application process is hard work and we appreciate your time, commitment, and passion for the mission. Teach For America is just one avenue working towards educational equality and we encourage you to take your passion and continue to seek out other educational and service-related opportunities.

Third Deadline Applicants
If you've been invited a phone interview, congratulations! You're probably reviewing your resume and considering who to list as your recommender. Check out our previous post for helpful tips on your interview. If you were invited directly to a final interview be sure to mark November 10 on your calendar for your Online Activity! We can't wait to learn more about you!

Friday, October 10, 2014

High Priority Subjects!

As our first and second deadline applicants get ready for their final interviews, one required action is to submit the Assignment Preference Form (APF). The APF is more than just the place where you list your regional preferences, it's also where you list your subject and grade level preferences. Just as we have our high priority regions (areas where the need for corps members is great) we also have high priority subjects. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), Special Education (SPED), and Early Childhood Education (ECE) are considered high priority because we see an urgent need for teachers in many of our regions. We hosted an online event this week featuring 3 current corps members who shared more about their expereinces teaching these subjects. If you missed the call, check out the recording: If you're interested in learning more about our high priority subjects, check out the links below!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Final Interviews Are Almost Here!

Our first and second deadline applicants are preparing for final interviews next week and that invariably brings lots of questions like: What can I teach? What's the personal interview like? When will I eat lunch? To answer some of your questions, check out our "Preparing For Your Final Interview" online event recording.
For Our Frequently Asked Questions, read on!

How long will my interview day last?
Most interview days start at 9 a.m. (but check your Applicant Center for your specific time) and we suggest that you set aside the whole day. Your actual interview day will be over after your personal interview. 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. If you have a later interview time, you can leave your interview site, get lunch, talk with other applicants, whatever you'd like to do!

I wasn't able to get all of my documents uploaded, should I still attend?
Yes absolutely! Hopefully you'll be able to upload them as soon as possible, but you should definitely attend your interview in the meantime. You should not however, bring your documents with you to the interview day. Your interviewers can't collect them, so there's no point in bringing them. Just be sure to upload everything as soon as you can.

Who are my interviewers?
Your interviewers will be Teach For America staff members. Some of your interviewers might also be Teach For America alumni. During your interview day you'll be able to ask them questions about their experience in the classroom if they were teachers, and about Teach For America's mission and work.

How big will my interview day be?
Most of our interview days have 12 applicants and 2 interviewers. It's possible that your interview day might be slightly smaller or larger though. If you're planning on making copies for your sample teach, we suggest making 15 total, it's always better to have a little extra! You'll also wear name tags during the day, so you'll be able to easily call on your "students" during your lesson.

What will my interview room be like? What should I bring with me?
Since all our interview spaces are generously donated, this can really vary! We have interview spaces at universities, offices, conference centers, etc. We can guarantee that there will be a writing surface in your room. This can mean a chalk board, white board, or chart paper. We'll also provide a writing utensil of course, but we can't promise more than that! If your lesson relies on any kind of technology you'll have to bring that yourself. You'll also have to set it up in your one minute prep period. Be sure to consider this when planning your lesson.

We hope you feel prepared and wish you good luck on your interview!