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In this lesson students will learn 12 words for jobs and the structure "What do you do?". The jobs in this lesson are familiar to kids of all ages, so this can be taught to even young kids.

Lesson Procedure:

Warm Up and Maintenance:

See our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.


New Learning and Practice:

1. Teach jobs vocab
Before class, print off the jobs flashcards for the jobs in the song (farmer, bus driver, doctor, teacher, dentist, police officer, chef, hair dresser, nurse, soldier, fire fighter, student). If your students are older and can handle more vocab feel free to add more jobs.

NOTE: You'll notice that one of the jobs is "student". Although not technically a job, it is perfectly appropriate to answer the question "What do you do?" with "I'm a student".

Teach jobs vocabNow you are going to do actions for each job and your students will have to guess what job it is.

Start by looking at the first flashcard (don't show anyone) and do one of the below actions. Perhaps start with an easy one, like hairdresser, chef or bus driver. Encourage everyone to shout out their guesses – at this stage it is fine if students shout out the answers in their first language – you can correct and teach the new vocab as you go.

As each job is guessed, stick the flashcard onto the board and chorus the English word 3 times. Continue until all of the job flashcards are on the board.

Actions to do for jobs:

  • farmer: pretend to rake the soil, milk cows, pick vegetables from the ground and fruit from trees
  • bus driver: pretend to drive a bus, beeping the horn, collecting money and giving out tickets
  • doctor: pretend to give a student in injection in their arm, check their ears and inside mouth, and pretend to listen to their heart with a stethoscope
  • teacher: point to yourself, pretend to write on an imaginary board
  • dentist: demonstrate with a student: get him/her open their mouth whist you look inside and pretend to check, drill and even pull out teeth!
  • police officer: hold out hand in the "Halt" position and blow a pretend whistle, shoot a gun and drive a police car with sirens blaring (say "nee-naa, nee -naa!")
  • chef: pretend to chop food and cook (stir a pot of food)
  • hair dresser: pretend to cut hair and blow dry hair
  • nurse: take a student's pulse (two finders on inside of wrist) and check their temperature
  • soldier: march around and pretend to shoot a rifle
  • fire fighter: pretend to hold a hose and fire water at an imaginary fire
  • student: point to everyone, pretend to write in an imaginary notebook

Play "Missing Flashcards"2. Play "Missing Flashcards"
Now that you have all of the jobs flashcards on the board, tell everyone to close their eyes. Remove one of the flashcards. Then shout "Open your eyes" and point to the space where the flashcard was. Encourage everyone to shout out what it is, then reveal the card. The first person to shout out the correct answer can come to the board, say "Close your eyes" and remove a flashcard. Keep playing until every card has been guessed.

3. Play "Paper, Rock, Scissors" flashcards
If your students don’t know how to play "Paper, rock, scissors" (known as jankan in Japan) start off by teaching and demonstrating the game.

Next, give everyone a job flashcard – make sure you have enough flashcards to give one to each student. Say to one student "What do you do?" and motion towards their card … elicit "I'm a (soldier)" - whatever the flashcard is that s/he is holding. Write on the board:

"What do you do?"
"I'm a ..."

Chorus each sentence three times. Then do a quick practice by asking some students "What do you do?" and have them say the job of the flashcard they are holding. Also, have students ask you and other students, until everyone is comfortable with the structures.

Play "Paper, Rock, Scissors" flashcards

Now for the game. Get 2 students to stand up to model the game. Start by playing "Rock, Paper Scissors". The winner gets to ask the loser "What do you do?" and the loser must reply "I’m a ..." (saying the job on their card). Then the loser gives his/her card to the winner. Ask another student to come and model with the winner: now one student has 2 cards and the other 1. They play "Rock, paper, scissors", say the structure and the loser gives his/her card to the winner. The aim of the game is to collect as many cards as possible. If a student has no cards left, that is fine - s/he can still play: if they win a game, they get a card, if they lose they remain with no cards (and do not say the structures).

Once everyone has got the idea, have all students to stand up and hold their flashcards. Get everyone to pair up and play. As soon as they have finished they must find another person to play with. Everyone mingles around the classroom playing "Rock, paper, scissors", saying the structure and winning or losing cards. After 5 minutes stop the game. The winner is the student with the most cards. This is a really popular game with my classes!

Read classroom reader "The Jobs Bus"4. Read classroom reader "The Jobs Bus"
Now that the vocabulary has been practiced we can move onto a fun, simple story which uses the target vocab. Before class, download and print off the reader "The Jobs Bus". As you go through each page, point to the different characters and ask for the students to tell you what job they have, for example:

Teacher: (pointing on page 2) Look, what does he do?
Students: Farmer!
Teacher: Yes, that's right! (reading) "I'm a farmer, Please take me to the farm". etc.

Continue through the reader, eliciting the jobs and ask lots of other questions, such as asking the students where each person works, what they are wearing, etc.

After reading the story, give out a reader worksheet to each student and read through the story one more time (without stopping for questions, etc.) as students draw the route the bus takes in the story. Then check through as a class.


Alternatively, watch our video version of the reader (Internet connection required):

5. Sing "What do you do? (The Jobs Song)"
The first time you play the song, put up the What do you do? (The Jobs Song) song poster on the board. Quickly elicit the vocab. Play the song and sing along doing the gestures, as described below in "Gestures and activities for "What do you do?". Play 2 or 3 times.

Sing "What do you do?  (The Jobs Song)"Lyrics for "What do you do?"

Do - do - do - do!
Do - do - do - do - do - do!

What do you do?
I am a farmer.
What do you do?
I'm a bus driver.
(What do you do?
I am a doctor.
What do you do?
I am a teacher.

Do - do - do - do!

What do you do?
I am a dentist.
What do you do?
I'm a police officer.
What do you do?
I am a chef.
What do you do?
I'm a hair dresser.

Do - do - do - do!

What do you do?
I am a nurse.
What do you do?
I'm a soldier.
What do you do?
I'm a fire fighter.
What do you do?
I'm a student.

Do - do - do - do - do - do - do!

(download MP3 here)

Gestures and activities for "What do you do?"

You can do either do gestures as you sing and dance along, or use flashcards for a listening activity.

  • farmer: pretend to rake the soil
  • bus driver: pretend to drive a bus
  • doctor: pretend to give yourself an injection in your arm
  • teacher: pretend to write on an imaginary board
  • dentist: open mouth and touch teeth
  • police officer: hold out hand in the "Halt" position and blow a pretend whistle
  • chef: pretend to cook (stir a pot of food)
  • hair dresser: pretend to cut hair
  • nurse: take your pulse (two finders on inside of wrist)
  • soldier: march on the spot
  • fire fighter: pretend to hold a hose
  • student: pretend to write in an imaginary notebook

We also have a video that you can stream in class to sing along with (Internet connection required):

What do you do?

6. Do the "My Dream Job" worksheet
On the board, at the top, write "My Dream Job". Chorus 3 times. Say "I am a teacher" and point to yourself. Then say "But … I want to be a … ". Don’t say anything yet. Under the "My Dream Job" title draw a picture of a job (e.g a police officer) and have everyone try and guess what your dream job is. It doesn't have to be one of the jobs from the song - I always use "astronaut".

Then give out the worksheets and have everyone draw their dream job and write the word. As they are drawing, go around the room asking questions and giving lots of praise and encouragement. When everyone has finished, get each student in turn to hold up their picture and say "I want to be a/an …". For higher level students you can ask them some questions, such as "Why do you want to be (a doctor)?"

Do the "My Dream Job" worksheet

Idea: You can have everyone stick their worksheets to the wall or notice board under the title "Our Dream Jobs". You can then use the pictures in future classes to review the vocab.

Wrap Up:

1. Assign Homework: "Jobs Match 2" worksheet.
2. Wrap up the lesson with some ideas from our "Warm Up & Wrap Up" page.

Print Outs / Worksheets:


  • farmer


  • bus driver

    bus driver

  • doctor


  • teacher


  • dentist


  • police officer

    police officer

  • chef


  • barber / hair dresser

    barber/hair dresser

  • nurse


  • soldier


  • firefighter


  • student



Songs & Readers:

Additional materials:

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