How I Secretly Lived in my Office (Advanced ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the lesson plan here: lived-in-office-reading-advanced-lesson.docx

Note: This advanced ESL lesson plan is based on the article I secretly lived in my office for 500 days. The lesson focuses on vocabulary building, reading, speaking, and writing. You will need to print the article as well to use this lesson plan.

Man working in office

Pre-reading: Vocabulary from I secretly lived in my office for 500 days.

Read the following sentences and try to guess the meaning of the word in bold.

  1. “I was asleep when I heard the door rattle against the frame. My eyes flashed open and I sprung upright in under-desk sleep space.”
  1. “If living in the office seems like too much effort, it was a cakewalk compared to making monthly rent payments “
  1. “Then disaster struck. Company raises and bonuses were frozen. My identity was stolen. I got a hefty hospital bill for a surgery earlier that year.”
  1. “Without money, I had two choices: Give up my dreams of working creatively or surrender my time working even more. Either way, the outlook was gloomy. Until I remembered my ace in the hole.”
  1. “Impending debt morphed into growing savings.”
  1. “My spending habits ground to a halt, my saving ballooned.”
  1. “I lived in the office for 500 days. Ultimately, the company went under.”


  1. Choose one word that you think you might use again and write a sentence using the word properly.

Post-Reading: “I secretly lived in my office….” Discussion Questions


Discuss the following questions with your partner.

  1. The author Terry K makes a distinction between “homeless” and “home-free.”

Instead of homeless, I prefer to use the term “home-free.” It champions choice without undermining the challenges faced by those without it.

Why do you think it's important to make this distinction? Could you ever be home-free?


  1. If you were the author's employer what would you do if you found out that your employee was living in his office to save money? Does it make a difference to you if your employee is also more productive and happier than ever?


  1. One reason the author loved living in his office was that over the course of 500 days he saved 216 hours commuting. Is it common to commute to work in your home country? What is the average amount of time that you spend commuting in one day? Does commuting time affect whether you take a job or not? Does it affect your mood?


  1. Where does the author live now? Do you think that this is a better alternative?


  1. Choose one of the questions above and write your answer in the space below.



ESL Lesson Plan created by Katarina Ohlsson of (copyright)

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