Last updated on March 23rd, 2020 at 09:19 am

Elementary teacher–a job, a mission, sometimes a pleasure, and another time a cross you have to carry on your shoulders.

The way you see this job depends on the school, the students, but also on your personality, and attitude to the job, and to the challenges teaching presents.

Exactly this will be tested in the interviews: Your attitude, as well as your personality, and your way of thinking.

Can you convince the hiring committee of your readiness for the job?

The members of the interviewing panel will use personal, behavioral, and job-related questions while trying to understand you better. On the following lines we will analyze some of the questions. Let’s start!


What motivates you to work as an elementary teacher?

You can speak about your desire to teach, about your teaching mission, an inner calling. You can say that you want to be a good role model for the children in school.

Alternatively you can say that you feel good in school environment, that you feel good around young people, and want to have a job that allows you to be around them.

You can even say that you had a great elementary teacher when you were young, someone who influenced you and helped you to grow up, and that the experience with them motivated you to pursue teaching career.

Special Tip no. 1: Download a full list of questions in a one page long .PDF, and practice your interview answers anytime later:

interview questions for elementary school teachers, PDF

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

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

They should have good knowledge of teaching methods, and a good level of understanding for the children, and for their emotional world.

And they should also understand the philosophy of the school, and try their best to help the educational institution to reach their goals. Feel free to add your characteristics to the mix.


What teaching methods do you prefer and why?

You should list at least two or three methods, so the hiring committee members see that you understand various teaching methods, and can apply them in the classroom.

Then you can elaborate on your answer, pointing out one or two methods that work great at elementary level, at least according to your experience. You can even say that you plan to decide on the fly, and according to the situation in the classroom and the discipline of the students, choosing always the most appropriate teaching method.


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 you should not forget to explain why you prefer to follow this philosophy.

Oppositely, if you prefer an egalitarian approach, because the grades should reflect the differences of the students, go for this answer. Alternatively you can say that you will follow the guidance of the school administrators, doing what the other teachers are doing. Showing some flexibility and willingness to co-operate with the administrators is always a good idea in an interview…

Special Tip no 2: Do you like my advice, but struggle to think about some great answers, words that will impress the hiring committee on a big day?

You can find multiple excellent answers to 25 most common elementary teacher interview questions in an eBook I wrote for you, the Elementary Teacher Interview Guide. Check the book page to see whether it could help you with your answers. Thank you!


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 to this question depends on the school where you apply for the job, on the way they approach the relation of IT to teaching.

Do they have computers in each classroom? Do the children use the computers? If you can not figure it out, you can say that you support IT in the classes, but only when we have clear rules in place, and use computers to the benefit of the children.

Alternatively you can turn things upside down, speaking about your own use of technology, saying how interactive presentations and other tools help you to explain the lesson in a more entertaining and engaging way.


How would you handle a conflict between two students?

Conflicts belong to every classroom, and you should show your readiness to deal with them. A good answer is to say that you would approach each conflict individually, listening to both conflict parties and just then deciding what you’d do in each individual case.

You can also elaborate on your answer, saying that you would try to lead the children to respect each other, and to have a healthy level of self-confidence, as a prevention of conflicts.


Other personal and behavioral questions for elementary teacher interviews

  • 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? Have you experienced the situation before?)
  • What do you consider the toughest aspect of this job? (Is there anything you hate about teaching?)
  • Tell us something about your hobbies. (What do you like to do in your free time?)
  • Talk about games you’d play with your students, and why would you choose these games, and not other games?
  • What are your salary expectations?
  • Why should we hire you, and not one of the other job applicants?
  • ….


Conclusion, answers to the questions

Elementary teacher interview does not belong to the most difficult interviews, especially because you won’t compete with many other applicant for the job.

Nevertheless, you still have to convince the hiring committee of your readiness for the job, and the experience can be stressful…

If you struggle with answers to the questions, or do not feel good about your chances, you should have a look at the Elementary Teacher Interview Guide. Check the book page, read the samples, and see for yourself whether it will help you to make the best possible impression.

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Glen Hughins

Recruitment Consultant and Interview Coach from Philadelphia, Glen had worked as a school principal for fifteen years, before he started his career in recruitment consulting and interview coaching. He contributes to Interview Penguin with articles about careers and interviews in teaching, and in educational administration.
Glen Hughins

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