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Life Stories

“Acting Versus Waiting: Can Jenny Handle Both?”

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Ideas

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Vocabulary Preview: Introduce and define key vocabulary words related to acting and balancing responsibilities, such as “actress,” “part-time job,” and “balancing act.” Discuss their meanings and relevance to the story.

  2. Anticipation Guide: Provide students with statements related to the story’s theme, such as “Acting requires both talent and hard work.” Ask students to indicate whether they agree or disagree with each statement and briefly explain their choice.

  3. Picture Analysis: Show students the picture below or provide a related image. Ask them to observe the details in the picture and make predictions about the story based on what they see. Encourage students to explain their reasons.

  4. Guided Questions: Present students with questions that provide context for the story to pique their curiosity. For example: “What challenges do you think Jenny will face as she balances her studies and her part-time job? How do you think she will handle them?”

  5. Personal Connection: Engage students in a discussion about their own aspirations, goals, and challenges. Ask them to share their dreams or desired careers and discuss how they would handle juggling responsibilities like Jenny does in the story. Encourage students to draw connections between their experiences and the story’s themes.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. Key vocabulary words are marked in bold.


Jenny always wanted to become an actress, and she joined a famous acting school in town to start off her career. But soon, she realized that acting was like a balancing act. She had to learn the basic acting skills while also juggling her part-time job at a fancy restaurant.

Jenny was originally from a small town and didn’t know much about the big city. One day, while working at the restaurant, a high-and-mighty customer ordered a dish that Jenny had never heard of before. She didn’t want to look dumb, so she pretended to know what it was and wrote it down.

As she was serving the dish to the customer, she realized that she had messed it up. The customer got angry and said, “Don’t you know how to do your job?”

Jenny felt embarrassed but tried to stay calm. She knew that being an actress was tough, but she never thought that her part-time job would be too. She continued to work hard and rehearse her lines every day.

One day, while in class, her phone rang. It was her boss asking her to come to work immediately. Jenny knew that it was going to be tough, but she couldn’t say no.

When she arrived at the restaurant, the same high-and-mighty customer from before was there. The customer sneered at her and said, “What are you doing here? I thought you were a fancy actress.”

Jenny smiled and replied, “Yes, but being a waitress is just another form of acting. It’s all about balancing the needs of the customers with my own needs.”

The customer looked surprised but didn’t say anything else. In the end, Jenny managed to pull off the balancing act, both at acting school and at her part-time job. She knew that being an actress was going to be tough, but she was determined to make it work.

Comprehension Questions – Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. Why did Jenny pretend to know the dish the customer ordered at the restaurant?
A) She was too shy to ask.
B) She didn’t want to look dumb.
C) She didn’t care about her job.
D) She thought it was a fun game.

2. How did the customer react when Jenny served the wrong dish?
A) He laughed.
B) He said nothing.
C) He got angry.
D) He left the restaurant.

3. What did Jenny do when her boss called her to work while she was in class?
A) She refused to go to work
B) She left class immediately
C) She ignored the call
D) She went to work

4. What did the high-and-mighty customer say to Jenny when she arrived at work?
A) “You’re fired!”
B) “What are you doing here? I thought you were an actress.”
C) “You’re late!”
D) “I need to speak to your manager.”

5. What did Jenny say to the customer when he questioned her about her job at the restaurant?
A) “I’m not really an actress.”
B) “Being a waitress is just another form of acting.”
C) “I don’t know what I’m doing.”
D) “I quit acting school.”


  1. She didn’t want to look dumb.
  2. He got angry.
  3. She went to work.
  4. “What are you doing here? I thought you were an actress.”
  5. “Being a waitress is just another form of acting.”

Discussion Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehend):

  1. Who is the story about?
  2. What does Jenny do for a living?
  3. Was the customer happy with his meal?
  4. Did Jenny have to leave her class to go to work?
  5. Did Jenny quit her job as a waitress to become an actress?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Do you think it was fair of the customer to expect Jenny to know everything on the menu?
  2. Why do you think the boss called Jenny during class and expected her to come to work immediately?
  3. Do you think Jenny made the right decision by leaving acting school to focus on her job as a waitress?

Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. How do you think the customer would have reacted if Jenny had been honest and admitted she didn’t know the dish he ordered?
  2. Do you think it’s ethical for a boss to call an employee during class and expect them to come to work immediately?
  3. What do you think the high-and-mighty customer meant when he said, “What are you doing here? I thought you were an actress”?

Class Activities

    Because people learn and process language differently, a number of different activities have been prepared to accommodate a variety of learning styles (or modalities).

    Visual Activity (Seeing):

    1. Visual Mapping: Provide students with a large sheet of paper or a whiteboard. Instruct them to create a visual map of the story, including key events, characters, and important details. Encourage them to use colors, symbols, and images to represent different elements of the story.

    Auditory Activity (Listening):

    2. Radio Drama: Divide students into small groups and assign each group a scene from the story. Instruct them to create a radio drama adaptation of their assigned scene, focusing on using only sound effects and voice acting to convey the story. Afterward, have the groups perform their radio dramas for the class.

    Kinesthetic Activity (Moving):

    3. Roleplay: Divide students into pairs or small groups and assign each group a role from the story (e.g., Jenny, the customer, the boss). Instruct them to create a short roleplay scenario based on a specific situation from the story. Encourage them to act out the dialogue and emotions of the characters.

    Tactile Activity (Touching):

    4. Object Collage: Prepare a collection of various objects that represent different aspects of the story (e.g., a notepad, a menu, a phone). Divide students into small groups and provide each group with a set of objects. Instruct them to create a tactile collage using the objects to depict key moments or themes from the story. Afterward, have the groups present their collages and explain their choices.

    Here are more ideas:

      1. Discussion Circles: Divide the class into small groups and ask them to discuss various themes presented in the story, such as the value of honesty, the importance of hard work, or the consequences of lying. Encourage them to analyze the actions and decisions of the characters and draw parallels to real life.

      2. Debate: Divide the class into two groups and ask them to debate the morality of lying in various situations. Encourage them to consider both sides of the argument and support their opinions with examples and evidence.

    1. Critical Analysis: Ask students to write a critical analysis of the story, focusing on themes, character development, and plot structure. Encourage them to identify the author’s message and consider the story’s impact on the reader.

    2. Ethical Dilemmas: Present the class with various ethical dilemmas related to the story and ask them to consider what they would do in those situations. Encourage them to think about the impact of their decisions on themselves and others.

    3. Role-Play Scenarios: Create various role-play scenarios based on the story, such as a customer complaining about the wrong order, or a boss calling an employee to work during their class. Encourage students to act out the scenarios and consider the consequences of their actions.

    4. Character Analysis: Ask students to analyze the motivations and actions of the characters in the story, and consider how their decisions affected the plot. Encourage them to draw connections to real life and consider how their actions can have a ripple effect.

    5. Research Project: Ask students to research and present on various topics related to the story, such as the psychology of lying, the impact of social media on truth-telling, or the history of deception in literature. Encourage them to consider various perspectives and back up their research with evidence.

    Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
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