What Do You Want to Be?: ESL Lesson Plan [Free PDF]


Career exploration is an important topic for students of all ages, particularly those learning English as a Second Language (ESL). This lesson, titled “What Do You Want to Be?” invites students into a world of professions and work-related vocabulary, while also encouraging them to dream, plan, and communicate their aspirations for the future. The objective is to not only enhance their language abilities but also to foster essential skills such as self-expression, critical thinking, and goal setting.

what do you want to do ESL lesson plans

In this lesson, students will be introduced to a variety of careers, the tasks associated with each, and the skills needed. Through engaging discussions, role-play activities, and creative projects, they will learn to articulate their career interests, understand the role of different jobs in society, and use English language effectively to communicate about work and career goals.

What Do You Want to Be? ESL Lesson Plan (Free Download) (1467 downloads )


Students will be able to understand and use job-related vocabulary, discuss various professions and their tasks, and express their career aspirations in English.


Approximately 90 minutes.


  1. Flashcards of different occupations
  2. Job description cards
  3. Paper and art supplies for poster making
  4. Career interest survey handout

Warm-Up (15 minutes)

Vocabulary Introduction

Introduce students to different professions using flashcards. Discuss what each profession does, where they might work, and what skills they need. Vocabulary should include:

  • Doctor
  • Teacher
  • Engineer
  • Chef
  • Artist
  • Scientist
  • Firefighter
  • Musician
  • Farmer
  • Writer
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Confirm understanding by asking students to match the job title with its description or image.

Presentation (20 minutes)

Career Exploration Discussion

Lead a group discussion about different careers. Ask students what they know about each profession. Do they know anyone who does this job? What do they think a typical day might look like? Reinforce vocabulary and comprehension through this interactive discussion.

Practice (25 minutes)

Role-play Activity

Distribute job description cards to the students. Have them take turns role-playing as a person from the profession described on their card, explaining what they do in their job. The other students will guess the profession being described. This encourages students to utilize the vocabulary they’ve learned and to actively listen for clues.

Production (25 minutes)

Career Poster Project

Ask students to choose a profession they might want to pursue. Provide paper and art supplies, and have them create a poster about their chosen career. The poster should include the job title, a drawing, and sentences describing what the job entails, the skills needed, and why they’re interested in it. This activity allows students to creatively express their career aspirations while using the new vocabulary.

Career Interest Survey

Hand out a career interest survey, where students will answer questions about their skills, interests, and career aspirations. This will help students reflect on what they want to do and why, and how their skills might align with their aspirations.

Wrap-Up (5 minutes)

Reflection and Sharing

Have students present their career posters to the class, explaining why they chose the profession they did. This provides students with a chance to practice public speaking and to learn about different professions from their peers.

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This lesson plan provides a comprehensive approach to teaching work-related vocabulary and concepts. It engages students in exploring a variety of professions and encourages them to think about their own career aspirations, all while strengthening their English language skills. Through this lesson, students will gain a broader understanding of the working world, allowing them to envision and communicate their own place in it.