1 May – International Workers’ Day

The run up to May 1 is an excellent time to work on professions with your students. 

Asking young children: What do you want to be when you grow up? can lead to a lot of discussion.

  1. First I start by teaching the children some jobs in English. 

Check out http://www.mes-english.com/flashcards/people.php for flashcards of many jobs including

  a doctor, a policeman, a fireman, a mailman, a nurse, a bus driver, a pilot, a teacher, a waiter, a barber, a student, a cook, an actor, an actress, an astronaut, a carpenter, a cashier, a construction worker, a dentist, an engineer, a farmer, a plumber, a reporter, a secretary, a security guard, a soldier, a veterinarian, a dancer, an eye doctor, a waitress, a cowboy

2.  When I teach the professions to young children, I usually include some TPR to help prompt them, e.g.

doctor – pretend to put on stethoscope and listen

teacher – point to self and pretend to write on a board

shop assistant – pretend to swipe a credit card

firefighter – pretend to hold a hose with both hands

chef – Index and middle fingers of both hands used to indicate the shape of a chef’s hat

waiter – pretend to hold a tray with one hand

3.  You can play games like:

Who Am I?
Bring out the children one at a time.  Give them one of the job flashcards without the rest of the class being able to see it.  The child’s classmates have to guess which flashcard the child has by asking: Are you a/an …? If you want to make this easier, ask the child to mime the job for their classmates to guess.

Vocabulary Tunnel

Say to the children:  Stand in two lines. (Name the children),  you are in line one and (name the rest of the class), you are in line 2. Now look at each other and hold hands. Make a tunnel.  The children then join hands with the person opposite them and hold their hands up to make a tunnel. 

 Bring out the first two children from the tunnel.  Then hold up one of the job flashcards.  The first of the two to say the word gets to run through the tunnel first and the other child follows.

Repeat the procedure a number of times until you have revised all the job vocabulary.

Whose is this bag?

Prepare small bags of objects related to the different jobs.

In class:  Put up the job flashcards (you could add flashcards for ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’).  Take one of the bags and say that someone has lost their bag.  Empty the contents in front of the children.  Look at the contents and the children have to decide who the bag belongs to.

Example of bags could be:

Doctor – fill the bag with toy doctor implements

Chef –  add a wooden spoon and a recipe book

Teacher – a piece of chalk or Vileda pen, some of your classroom materials  like a puppet or some flashcards

Waiter – a tray, an apron or a plastic cup and saucer or plate from a play ‘tea set’

Shop assistant – some money and items from a shop that the children know for example clothes flashcards or classroom object flashcards

Firefighter – a piece of hose, a reflective jacket (like the ones we wear for breakdowns)

4. Make a Jobs Big Book

The Jobs Big Book
You will need large pieces of card One piece of card is for the front cover.  Write ‘Our Jobs Big Book’ on the front and ‘I help you.’

In class the children work in  groups, one for each job, e.g. doctor, teacher, firefighter, shop assistant, chef, waiter.  Show each group the flashcard for their job.

Now the children look through magazines and find someone doing that job or a pictures related to the job, i.e. they might collect a picture of a tray or crockery or a cup of coffee on the page for the ‘waiter’.  The children then say their job and show the rest of the class the pictures they have found.  The class then decide if the pictures represent the job saying: ‘Yes.’ or ‘No.’

Finally, each group puts together the page for their job, sticking down the pictures to the card you give them.

Punch four holes in the same place down the left-hand side of each page.  Put the Job big Book together by threading wool or ribbon through the holes.

Feedback:  Now show the Jobs Big Book they made and ask them to say the job.  Then choose children to come out.  They choose a job in the book and say:  I want to be a/an …


If you are working with young children, it is a perfect time to start having a Teacher’s Helper as the children are working more independently and confidently.  With smaller children, I only have  one assigned classroom helper per day as in just one English lesson, I find it difficult keeping track of multiple classroom helpers daily.  Also, young children often forget their classroom jobs and have to be reminded. Having only one classroom helper per day takes the burden off the teacher and places responsibility on the child.

  • Allowing young children to feel like they are “in charge” gives them a great sense of empowerment.
  • Children who feel empowered are more likely to enjoy school and take more academic risks.
  • Many young children have feelings of still being “babies” or think of themselves as being “too little” to do many things. These attitudes often come from their families or the public in general. One of the goals of any good early childhood programme is to teach independence, by allowing the children to be in control for the entire day they feel incredibly empowered and independent.

How do you select your daily classroom helper?
I have a class list and tick off the children in alphabetical order.  I make a ‘Teacher’s helper’ medal.  I used to have Cookie’s face printed onto red card with Vanessa’s Helper written across it.  I laminate the face and make a hole to thread a lace through so that the helper can wear it like a medal round their neck.

Jobs include

  • giving out pencils, books,
  • helping you demonstrate a game.
  • collecting the flashcards

Helper song

Tune: Jolly good Fellow

(Name) is today’s helper x 3

Put on the helper’s badge.

Useful websites:





 A message to all teachers

Consider this:

Teaching is the profession that makes all the other professions possible.  – Author unknown

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite songs about jobs. Check out Youtube for many different versions of this song.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Patti said,

    Wow, that song brings back memories!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2

    I love this song. We also used to sing: Who are the people in your family?

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