This study explores the cultural diversity-related challenges in the primary classrooms, examines the reasons, effects of and solutions to these challenges, and identifies teacher profiles based on how they react to those challenges. Employing critical incident technique, we analyzed qualitative data from 650 primary teachers inductively. Results showed that primary teachers frequently faced challenges related to ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status and disability. The most salient challenges were identified as low academic achievement, student adaptation, bullying and challenges in implementing the curriculum. As a result of the analysis, three teacher profiles emerged as the strugglers, the dreamkeepers, and the color-evasive teachers. (c) 2023 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.