an exhausted sleepy woman tired of working hard sits next to a laptop and the word "idioms"

Idioms: burnout

Worksheet overview

This ESL worksheet can be used both with Business English students and as a General English lesson. It is dedicated to idioms used when talking about burnout. It is a highly relatable topic which is sure to get your students talking!
The first 9 idioms (e.g. to blow off steam, to take a toll, to be burning the candle at both ends, to hit a wall, to bite off more than you can chew, to be at the end of your tether) are introduced through a short dialogue between 2 colleagues. After matching the idioms to their definition, it’s practice time – students choose the correct idiom to complete 6 sentences and then discuss whether or not the sentences are true for them.
Next, students are presented with another dialogue. It is both a practice activity, as they need to complete it with 4 idioms, and a way to introduce the rest of the idioms (to call it a day, to have a lot on your plate, to spread yourself too thin). To practise, students paraphrase 6 sentences, using the correct idiom.
The rest of the activities are mostly focused on speaking. First, students are given 5 discussion questions, each of them including an idiom related to burnout. Next, they are presented with 2 role-play scenarios. After that, they look at 5 discussion questions related to burnout in general, and are tasked with using 1 of 3 idioms given in their answers.
The last activity in the worksheet is a writing activity. Students are given the beginning of a story which they have to complete.
You can use the printable conversation cards, which contain 12 discussion questions, to revise these idioms related to burnout.


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

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