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Paul Sparks, Sino-Canadian International College, Guangxi University, Online English Lesson Plans, Lesson Material and Ideas for Reading Lessons...



Reading Exercise: "A Day in the Life of..."

INSTRUCTIONS: Read the following article then answer the questions based on the article.

"A Day in the Life of..."
...Mohammed Jalaluddin, a Bangladeshi, has been working in the Dubai zoo for a decade. He views his job as a challenge as it involves dealing with wild animals.

Normally I am up in time for the fajr prayers. As we have our living quarters within the zoo itself, it could be the chirping of the birds, the growl of the tiger or the hiss of the snakes that could wake me in the morning. After some tea and biscuits I put on my uniform and am ready for the day ahead.

We work in two shifts from 7 am to 12 noon and from 4 pm to 7 pm. Thursday is my day off. My first task is to check on the animals. It's our way of greeting them, saying good morning. Julie, a chirpy African chimpanzee, is a good pal of mine. She loves to roam around perched on my shoulder.

Each staff member is assigned certain animals to his care. Right now I am in charge of the African lion, Syrian bear, African monkey, the tortoises and the mynahs. We have to keep a daily register of the birds and animals in our care. Then begins the cleaning of the cages.

During the summer we sprinkle water on the animals and in the cages to keep them cool. In some of the cages we have installed fans so that the animals can beat the heat. In case any of the animals is not feeling well I have to report it to the vet. Sometimes if any of the birds or animals is sick, I may have to accompany it to the veterinary hospital.

All the staff members have a sort of bonding with the animals; they recognize us. I know exactly when any of the animals or birds is not feeling too well.

Serving meals to the animals and the birds is the best part of the job. As soon as I enter the cage they all come around me in anticipation; as if I am some sort of a saviour. It feels great. As soon as I leave, they pounce on the food and devour it.

In the morning I serve the lion either beef or chicken; the bear gets bread, honey and chapattis while the birds get grains. In case any of them have not eaten well, I have to keep track and see how they eat in the afternoon. If they display the same behavior even in the evening I send for the vet. Usually most of them eat without any fuss.

I have been working at the Dubai zoo for a decade now. When I arrived in the UAE, I worked in a tailoring outfit, helping out with the embroidery work. It is just that I wanted to come to Dubai; I was unsure of what exactly I wanted to do. Everybody in my village, Sylhet in Bangladesh, talked about the money you could earn. So the idea appealed to me as well.

I did not complete my schooling as I was not too keen on studies; I used to hang around the village. My maternal uncle adopted me as he had no children. Therefore I used to stay in Karimganj with him--away from my parents and brothers and sisters. So even when I came to Dubai I was not homesick as I was used to living on my own. Of course I do write home and send money.

When I started working in the zoo, initially my family found it weird. Even I used to feel strange. But when I took up the zoo job I knew exactly what I was getting into. Handling an animal requires a lot of care, expertise and patience. You may want the animal to behave in a particular way but he will not, and you cannot force the animal to stick to a schedule. They do exactly as they please.

Now of course I quite like it. I am happy to work in the zoo and build a rapport with the animals. I see it as a challenge--working with wild animals. Several times I have been bitten by the animals. They may just jump on you in a very playful mood but they do not realize that in the process they are hurting you. The African monkey one day just caught my hand while I was giving him food. It resulted in a deep gash and I was bleeding. So many times I have been in bandages and admitted to the hospital crying in pain. But this is all part of the job. Once you recover you are back again in the cage.

Lunch is usually rice, fish or vegetables. I do cook often as do the rest of the staff in the quarters. I may take a short nap or watch TV, especially Zee TV, before resuming duty at 4 pm.  Then again we clean the cages, sprinkle water and serve food to the animals.

It is a great joy to see children in the zoo. Their faces just light up on seeing the animals and birds; it is very touching. But there are some visitors who flout rules and throw objects in the cages or feed the animals. They don't realize that they are harming them.

After duty I start cooking dinner or sometimes go out. Or I just sit around and chat with my colleagues. I am not married yet; maybe I will marry in the near future. Otherwise, as things are proceeding now, I will continue working in the zoo.

Maybe when I go back to Bangladesh, I will set up my own zoo--a small one with a few animals or birds; at least the village children will enjoy it.


Read the text about Mohammed Jalaluddin and answer the following questions:

A)    Complete Mohammedís Profile

1.    Nationality_______________________________________   

2.    Education _______________________________________

3.    Reasons for coming to Dubai________________________

4.    Duration of stay in Dubai ___________________________

5.    Feelings about his job______________________________   

6.    Future plans _____________________________________

B)    Write complete answers

7.    When does he get up?________________________________________________

8.    What does he have for breakfast?_______________________________________

9.    What does he have for lunch?__________________________________________

10.  What does he do after work?___________________________________________

C)    True/false statements

Write T if the statement is true and F if it is false. Correct the false statements.

11. An alarm clock wakes him up.           

12. He is in charge of the zoo.           

13. He does not enjoy his work at the zoo.           

14. His family thought his job was exciting.           

15. All animals are served the same kind of food.

D.    List three things that Mohammed does as part of his daily responsibilities.




E)    Vocabulary work

Circle the word which is closest in meaning to the bolded word.

19.  The idea appealed to me
a.    became clear
b.    attracted me
c.    shocked me

20.   All the staff had a sort of bonding with the animals
a.    strong relationship
b.    special knowledge
c.    certain fear

21.  My maternal uncle adopted me as he had no children
a.    brought me up as his own child
b.    taught me how to adjust my ways
c.    taught me how to read and write

22.  Some visitors flout rules and throw objects in the cages   
a.    follow rules
b.    break rules
c.    misunderstand rules 

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