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ESL Jobs Vocabulary Lesson Plan

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

In this lesson plan, find classroom activities centered on teaching ESL (English as a Second Language) learners the use of job-related vocabulary. Students will learn words for jobs as well as terms related to careers before engaging in activities to practice their new knowledge.

Learning Objectives

After completing this lesson, students should be able to:

  • use appropriate vocabulary when talking about jobs
  • accurately describe various job roles and functions
  • share personal opinions about different jobs


60 to 90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.


Consult general and specialized reference materials (e.g., dictionaries, glossaries, thesauruses), both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning or its part of speech.


Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases; gather vocabulary knowledge when considering a word or phrase important to comprehension or expression.

Key Vocabulary and Phrases

Beginner Vocabulary

  • Doctor / nurse / teacher / police officer / firefighter
  • Banker / engineer / cook / waiter / pilot
  • Journalist / secretary / accountant / driver / writer
  • Mechanic / truck driver / carpenter / plumber
  • Astronaut / actor / soldier / dentist / veterinarian
  • Author / barber / butcher / chef / engineer
  • Farmer / judge / fisherman / pastor / sailor

Advanced Vocabulary

  • Job / occupation / profession / line of work / career
  • Resume / CV / experience / education / reference
  • Full-time / part-time / seasonal employment / contractor
  • Hourly pay / salary / benefits / retirement


Flashcard Flash

  • Write each of the words from the vocabulary section above on an index card.
  • Give one index card to each student.
  • Instruct students to look at the word on the card and then to look up the definition of the word in a dictionary.
  • After getting the definition, each student should draw a picture of the word on the other side of the card.
  • Collect the cards and show the pictures to the class.
  • See who can guess the vocabulary the picture is depicting. (Be sure to accept synonyms as correct answers.)

Dream Job Report

  • Instruct each student to prepare a short oral report on their dream job. The report should include:
    • Description of the job / average salary and work hours
    • Required skills / education / experience
    • How to get the job
    • Why he or she wants the job
  • Give each student approximately one minute to present his or her oral report to the class.

Job Interview

In this activity, each student will interview someone with a job. The person can be a family member, friend, or stranger. Before conducting the interviews, students should submit at least five questions to you for approval. For example:

  • How did you get this job?
  • Describe a typical work day.
  • What's your favorite and least favorite part of the job?
  • How can other people get this job?
  • What advice would you give to someone just starting this job?

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