Nice woman applies for her first ever job, the position of an elementary teacher. She interviews in the principal's office.Elementary teacher – a job, a mission, sometimes a pleasure and another time cross you have to carry.

Everything depends on the school, the students, but also on your personality, and attitude to the job and challenges teaching presents.

Your attitude, as well as your personality, and your readiness for the job, will be tested in an interview.

The hiring committee will use a set of personal, behavioral, and job-related questions, trying to get a good grasp of your personality and skills. We will have a look at some of these questions in the article.


Common questions and suggestion of a good answer

What motivates you to become an elementary teacher?

You can talk about your desire to teach, about your feelings for the children, about trying to be a good role model for them.

Alternatively you can say that you feel good in school environment, that you feel good around young people.

You can even say that you had a great elementary teacher when you were young, that the person influenced you a lot, and that the experience with them motivated you to pursue teaching career.


Elementrary school students are happy, having a good timeWhat characterize a great elementary teacher?

First of all, they should love their job. They should be ready to deal with all kinds of children and face challenges teaching presents, facing them with enthusiasm and respect.

They should have good knowledge of teaching methods, understanding for the children and their world. And they should also understand the philosophy of the school, and adhere to it while teaching classes.


What teaching methods do you prefer?

List at least two or three methods, so the hiring committee can see you that you understand various teaching methods, and can apply them in the classroom. You can elaborate on your answer, pointing out one or two methods that work great at elementary school, according to your experience.


Do you think we should treat all students equally, in terms of grading?

A good answer depends on your philosophy of teaching. If you prefer to motivate the weak students with good grades, you can say that, but do not forget to explain why you prefer to go this way. Oppositely, if you prefer an egalitarian approach, becasue the grades should reflect the differences of the students, say it for your answer.

Alternatively you can say that you will follow the guidance of the school administrators, doing what the other teachers are doing.


Five job candidates compete with each other, trying to get a job of an elementary teacher. But they look happy on the picture.What is your opinion about information technology at elementary school?

Good answer depends on what they do at school. Do they have computers in the classes? Do children use them? If you can not figure it out, say that you support IT in the classes, but that it must stay within certain limits, and we have to use it wisely.


How would you handle a conflict between two students?

Say that you would try to lead the children to respect each other, and to have a decent level of confidence. Say that you would approach each conflict individually, listening to both conflict parties and just then decide.


Other personal and behavioral questions for elementary teacher

  • How would you improve the study environment in your class?
  • Imagine that a father of a students complained about something which was untrue. How would you react? (What would you do? Did you experience the situation before?)
  • What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job? (Is there anything you hate about teaching?)
  • What are your hobbies? (What do you like to do in your free time?)
  • What games would you play with your students, and why would you choose those games, and not other one?
  • Describe a time you had to meet a tight deadline.
  • Tell us about a time you struggled with teaching a subject.
  • Tell us about your biggest success and your biggest failure.
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?


Answers to the questions and more…

If you would like to see answers to the questions above, check website from Glen Hughins,, a reputable interview coach and former school principal. Glen specializes in coaching job seekers to get various jobs in teaching and education administration. We highly recommend both his website and services.

Alternatively you can continue your preparation with Interview Penguin: