our little ESL secret…

Have you ever found yourself stuck on deciding a theme for your class? Has creating lesson plans become tedious for you? Are the ESL books at your school outdated and boring?

If you are someone who has attended a full-time TESL program, or teach full-time ESL like us, chances are you are frustrated and tired of creating and choosing lessons. You search endlessly for free worksheets and lesson plans online; so much so that you just create your own lessons so it has exactly what you want to teach. Honestly, please don’t keep doing that. Please save your energy. Most of the time, ESL teachers are not paid to prepare, so why put so much time and effort into creating flawless lesson plans with perfect activities?

Fuck that.

Ask yourself: What do my ESL students actually want? What do they need to be successful in English as a language?
If you teach in Canada, chances are you are teaching a lot of newcomers, visitors, and permanent residents. When they first arrive in Canada, there is a huge language barrier. These people have no idea how to communicate in English. They come here to visit long term, and even live and they need to know how to LIVE in Canada – everyday activities that you and I take for granted everyday. Things as simple as how to say hello to how to open a bank account – all in English.

I think it’s time to reveal the big secret.

ESLLibrary.com is an amazing website. It’s designed for teachers. Your students want to learn how to live life in an English speaking country – and they deliver.

It’s a paid membership that is actually quite affordable, and worth it if you want to facilitate amazing lessons. Here are some of the things they offer:


Yes, of course they have grammar. They even have “Fun Grammar Lessons”, “Grammar Sentences” and “Grammar Checklists” for planning your class. These lessons are great because they contain everything from games to the 4 skills.

Functional English and Everyday Dialogues

Your students want to communicate! These sections have plans that are also based on the Canadian Language Benchmarks (CLBs). These lessons focus on dialogue models in specific situations – shopping, ordering food, going to the hair salon, and so much more. Check it out for yourself. At the end, there is usually a chance to get the students to create their own dialogue and practice with a partner. Gotta love pair work!

English in the workplace and travelling with English

I love the workplace section because it prepares people for interviews, resumes, and various at work situations such as answering a phone call. This is a very specific type of English, perfect for practicing retail and service positions.

The travelling sections cover everything from getting on an airplane, to asking for directions upon arriving in an English-speaking country.


How much do you use inside jokes or very special language that you only use with family or friends? Probably all the time, and newcomers have no idea what you are talking about. Idioms are a form of slang, and contain a great deal of meaning when used in a certain situation. Idiom practice on this site is in the form of “episodes”. Follow someone’s story, and study dialogues containing idioms!

Young Learners and Adult Literacy

This section is great. For those of you who are maybe teaching newcomer children in an English speaking country, or teaching children overseas, these lessons are amazing. There are fun lessons with picture dictionaries, word games, and guided writing.

For adult literacy, this section contains “English Foundations”. Everything from holding a pencil to numeracy and finance are here.

Overall, this site is my light in the darkness. It’s organized, has so many materials, and they even take requests! Use it as is, or print out some stuff that could complement your lesson. Plus, why reinvent the wheel when there are so many resources out there for us? Now, go forth, and be the best English teacher you can be!

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