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ESL/EFL Intermediate(+) Lesson Plan - Weird Chinese Jobs

Updated on April 30, 2015

ESL Intermediate+ Lesson Plan Contents

Level: Intermediate and upper-intermediate.

Time: 60 minutes


  • Warm up activity
  • Reading section.
  • Discussion questions.
  • Reading comprehension questions.
  • Vocabulary match.
  • Fun speaking activity.
  • Answers.

ESL Intermediate Lesson Plan - Weird Chinese Jobs


Warm Up

  • Have you ever had an unusual job?
  • What do you think is a strange job?
  • Ever thought about working in another country? Where?

Weird Chinese Jobs

Some people complain about their jobs. They moan about work being boring, unchallenging and how the boss doesn't appreciate their efforts. But imagine working for the Chinese government. They have created the weirdest jobs to carry out their off-the-wall policies. After reading about these bizarre professions, you might just appreciate your own job a little more.

Video Game Farmers – It is estimated that there are 100,000 video game farmers in prisons across China. The inmates pull long 12-hour shifts on games such as World of Warcraft, farming virtual gold for their prison guards. The guards then sell on the virtual currency for real money to fellow gamers. The tasks are monotonous and the punishments for not meeting their quotas involve beatings.

Paid Protesters – Protests in Hong Kong spurred the Chinese government on to counter them by any means necessary. This included hiring fake protesters. Buses filled with government-appointed anti-protesters, mainly from the poor areas of town, arrived on the scene. The New York Times and the BBC reported that demonstrators were paid hundreds of dollars to march.

Internet Police – These cyber police keep track of web users, mainly to thwart any criticism of the government and prevent uprisings. Any unfavourable stories about the government are blocked and keywords like 'Dalai Lama', 'Tiananmen Square Massacre' and 'Jasmine' are put on a blacklist. Websites that do not remove the specific keywords are taken offline for good and many people have been sent to re-education camps for posting unflattering images or articles.

50 Cent Army – Professional trolls are paid 50 cent for every comment they post on web-based articles. They have many different accounts which they use to bombard the comment section of a website with praising compliments about the Chinese government.

Organ Harvester – China has around 300,000 people who are on a waiting list for an organ transplant every year. To deal with the the huge demand, the government passed a law in 1984 allowing them to harvest organs from executed prisoners without their consent. China executes more of its prisoners than the rest of the world put together and 2/3 of organ donations come from inmates. China has promised to stop harvesting organs from its prisoners without their consent.

Adult Movie Judge – The requirements include being married and these judges may have to watch up to 700 videos a week to get the job done. Their objective is to clean up the internet from unsavoury filth. The salary is $32,000, but they may volunteer for free if they like.

Professional Pandas – Every panda you've seen at a zoo is a owned by the Chinese government. The cost of renting out a panda is almost a million US dollars per year and the contract usually lasts for 10 years. Any cub that is born must be returned to China after 2 years. If the pandas die in the zoo due to human error, then they will have to pay $500,000 compensation.

Hackers – China's main foe is America and the government paid hackers to breach the computer networks of the United States Postal Services, taking names, emails and phone numbers of its employees and customers. They snooped on military contractors who were building America's weapons and military equipment, accessing passwords, codes, emails and classified information. John McCain and Barak Obama's 2008 presidential campaigns were also monitored. Other companies that have reported cyber-attacks include Google, Yahoo, The New York Times, Symantec and Adobe.


Discussion Questions

  1. Which job from the article would you have no problem doing?
  2. Which job is the worst in your opinion?
  3. Do you think China's internet policies are too extreme or are they a necessary way of controlling its people?
  4. Have you ever heard the expression 'Don't feed the trolls'. What does it mean?
  5. Have you ever seen a panda in a zoo? Because they mostly only eat bamboo canes, their food needs to be imported. This costs an extra £70,000 per year. Do you think the costs outweigh the benefits?
  6. Gold farming can affect a game's economy which leads to inflation. This interferes with the gamer's experience. Do you think this is fair or fair game?
  7. What do you think about game sweatshops (where players work long hours for little money)?
  8. A research report carried out by in 2009 revealed that game sweatshops give workers a higher percentage of foreign revenue than fair trade coffee. While the practice is exploitative, in comparison with other areas of hard labour, it is safer and less exhausting. Is your opinion still the same?
  9. In Asian cultures there is the strong belief that the body must remain intact after death and that's why organ donation is not very common. Do you think taking organs from prisoners without their consent is justified?
  10. If you could hack into any company's network, who would it be and why?
  11. What is your opinion on the paid protesters, adult movie judges and the 50 Cent Army?

Reading Comprehension Questions

  1. What's another word for 'moan, off-the-wall and filth'?
  2. What happens to prisoners who fail to meet their quotas?
  3. What does this sentence mean “are taken offline for good”?
  4. Find the word in the last paragraph that means to make a gap in a barrier or defence?
  5. According to the article, who is China's main enemy?

Vocabulary Match

a baby mammal.
someone who makes deliberately offensive or provocative statements online.
a thing that encourages someone to do something.
a working period.
showing lack of support or approval.
a person in the same position or activity.
spied on.
a fixed number that a person has to contribute.
prevent someone from accomplishing something.
offensive. remove from another person for transplant.

Can you really become a better player by wearing red? Are you more attractive in a certain shade?

Find out with my new ESL lesson plan Colour Psychology?

Speaking Activity

Cut up the professions and hand them out to your students. They must describe their job without saying any of the words in the list.

Turtle Rescuer

  • Rescue
  • Conversation
  • Eggs

Sky Diver

  • Jump
  • Airplane
  • Parachute

Rodeo Clown

  • Bull
  • Ride
  • Ring

Elvis Presley Impersonator

  • Graceland
  • Singer
  • Actor

Competitive Eater

  • Race
  • Competition
  • Eat

Audience Member

  • Show
  • Sit
  • T.V.


  • Kill
  • Execute
  • Behead

Alligator Skinner

  • Skin
  • Remove
  • Knife

Tattoo Artist

  • Needle
  • Picture
  • Art

Carcass Collector

  • Dead
  • Animals
  • Collect


  • Swim
  • Costume
  • Water

Dog Food Tester

  • Taste
  • Meat
  • Pet

Private Investigator

  • Investigation
  • Follow
  • Take photos

Whale Hunter

  • Fish
  • Boat
  • Nets


Answers to Reading Comprehension

  1. Complain, unusual/weird/crazy, dirt.
  2. They are beaten.
  3. They are removed forever from the internet.
  4. Breach.
  5. U.S.A.

Vocabulary Match

  • shifts -a working period.
  • fellow -a person in the same position or activity.
  • quotas-a fixed number that a person has to contribute.
  • spurred- a thing that encourages someone to do something.
  • thwart-prevent someone from accomplishing something.
  • uprisings-rebellions.
  • unfavourable -showing lack of support or approval.
  • unflattering-uncomplimentary.
  • trolls-someone who makes deliberately offensive or provocative statements online.
  • bombard -subject something to a continuous flow of information/criticisms.
  • harvest -remove from another person for transplant.
  • unsavoury-offensive.
  • cub-a baby mammal.
  • snooped -spied on.

Article adapted from

© 2015 Muttface


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