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Career Paths ESL Lesson

Should You Follow Your Passion?

Student Level


Video Length: 5:18

Updated on: 03/28/2024

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

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Career Paths ESL Lesson Description


This ESL lesson plan about career paths provides activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials designed for advanced C1 students. In this lesson, students will:

  • Analyze the role that passion plays in choosing a career path, among other factors
  • Think of and express ideas for new or alternative career paths for themselves
  • Help others make difficult decisions concerning suitable career paths
  • Use a variety of advanced phrasal verbs related to making decisions


In the first section of this career paths ESL lesson plan, students do an activity focused specifically on the word “passion” in the context of work and life. They analyze several quotes from celebrities about passion, and choose which quote they agree with the most. Then, they proceed to discuss some questions about “passion” and its role in choosing a career path. There is a third activity in which students assess a variety of different factors that can influence one’s career path, such as passion, financial stability, market demand, aptitude for the work, geographic location, among a few others. Students select a few that are or were the most important to them when choosing a career. They explain their choices and compare them with a classmate or their teacher.


In the viewing phase of this lesson, students watch an informative video featuring a man named Mike Rowe. Mike is the host, narrator and executive producer of one of Discovery Channel's most famous series, Dirty Jobs. In the video, Mike gives his opinion on whether people should follow their passion when it comes to choosing a career path.

In the activities, students listen for the realizations he comes to when he watches the Oscars and American Idol, a well-known television program in the USA. Then, there are some questions for students to write answers to or discuss. Mike also gives his account and first-hand experience on the topic of following his passion for his career path. He tells a story about how his grandfather gave him some tough but true advice that helped steer Mike in the right direction. The last part features an activity in which students listen for the adjectives that Mike uses in the video.


Following the video, students read and analyze a few of Mike’s quotes in the video. They also talk about Mike’s overall philosophy on the topic of following your passion.

In the part after, students read a dialogue between a career coach and his client. In the dialogue, Elisa consults with her coach to navigate her career options. She begins by expressing various career paths she’s contemplating, but is feeling indecisive. Elisa has managed to narrow down her choices to data analysis, software development, or computer programming. Her coach acknowledges the potential of these options and proceeds to help Elisa choose one by asking her a set of questions. In the dialogue, there are a variety of phrasal verbs that students must define based on the context.

There is a third activity in which students reflect on the dialogue using some of these same phrasal verbs.


In this activity, students simulate career counseling sessions to explore new or alternative career paths. They first list three potential careers and then role-play as either the client or the career coach. Clients express their contemplation over different paths, using phrases such as "mull over" and "teeter between," while coaches offer guidance using terms like "passion" and "aptitude." Afterward, students reflect on the decision-making process and consider their confidence in pursuing their chosen career path. Through this exercise, they gain insight into career exploration strategies.


Promotes Self-Reflection: Activities encourage students to reflect on their own career aspirations and factors influencing their decisions, promoting self-awareness.

Relatable Topic: The viewing activities featuring Mike Rowe provide real-life examples and perspectives on career choices, making the lesson relevant and engaging.

Provides Practical Career Exploration: The career counseling simulation allows students to actively explore and evaluate potential career paths, preparing them for real-world decision-making scenarios.

Video Description

Mike Rowe challenges the conventional wisdom of "following your passion" for career success, emphasizing the importance of practicality and adaptability. Through personal anecdotes and observations, he encourages individuals to explore diverse opportunities for meaningful work beyond idealized notions of dream jobs.

Lesson Activities


Career Paths, Following Your Passion


Mike's Realizations, Short Answers, Mike's Personal Story, Adjectives


Career Path Factors, Passion, Phrasal Verbs


Career Compass Communicative Activation, Quiz & Review, Lesson Reflection

Lesson Topics

Career Paths, Following Your Passion

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