EF English First Director of Studies Reviews

Updated 11 Sep 2020

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3.9
73%
Recommend to a Friend
94%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
8 Ratings
  1. "Adequate"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies 
    No Opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Reasonably stable depending on location Receives Head office assistance Variety of training opportunities

    Cons

    High workload Constant last minute changes High staff turnover Low salaries compared to competitors

  2. Helpful (2)

    "Sales Sales Sales"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Studies 
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Most of the employees are hard working and really want to make a difference. Some of the academic managers are nice and want to help you develop. Students and parents are friendly and fin, and the facilities are generally well maintained and new.

    Cons

    If you come to Guangzhou is is all about politics, they have fired people on maternity leave (moved them to inferior positions) the GM moves people on a whim, decides she doesn't like someone and then gets rid of them. The experience completely depends on manager. If you are foreign you are not respected, the only thing that matters is the CD and making a sale. They don't care about your opinion, your complaints or your ideas. The rules are rigid and there is no room for flexibility or creativity. Foreign Director of Studies rarely last long as the sales and marketing teams rule, Academics or very far down on the list. It is a popularity contest, if the GM likes you than a position will open up, they will move people around, demote, promote, get rid of or do what needs to be done to ensure they are surrounded by yes people. Good managers struggle as the current environment favors always saying yes, being beholden to sales and parroting the scripts handed down from shanghai.

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  3. Helpful (1)

    "Upward Mobility, Clear Practices and Expectations"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate Director of Studies in Hefei
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    The expectation for my job was set very early in my employment: if you work hard, you should be noticed and rewarded accordingly. My employers are yet to let me down. This is the first job that I can say that I fully trust my bosses' judgment and word. If they promise me something, they hold up their end of the bargain. As someone stepping into the world of ESL teaching with limited experience in education, I was very pleased to see the thoroughness of the training program set up in Hefei. I had about a month of pedagogy and practical training, including targeted observations of successful teachers. Since I started, the training program has continued to develop, and some newly-arrived colleges I work with told me that in their 10+ years of ESL teaching, they had never received the training they wanted until arriving in Hefei. I've always felt very respected and that my opinion mattered, even as a brand new teacher talking with the big bosses. What I've found in general is that if you have good, open communication skills and are willing to put in the effort to improve your teaching--and make your intentions clear to your manager--you can move up in the company. After a year of teaching, I told my boss's boss that I was interested in continuing with the company, and he clearly told me the different routes that were available. They promoted me to a Senior Teacher position to help assist other teachers. I did well over the year and stated my intention to continue moving up, and they promoted me to an interim Associate Director of Studies position with the intention to move me to a new school as the Director of Studies within a year. But also looking outside of my own case, I feel like my bosses' ability to see hard workers and reward them accordingly is on point. They constantly work to develop new teachers and to continue developing experienced ones. There are teaching workshops all the time (at least 1-2 per month) to help teachers develop specific skills in and out of the classroom. Within management, we receive training on a monthly basis about how to continue developing teachers, working with and managing people with different learning styles and varying attitudes, and being able to communicate with others in the most effective ways. I feel confident that the skills I gained as a manager with this company will help lead me to success in future jobs. My background and career is not in teaching. I have continued signing new contracts because of the relaxed-yet-professional environment, the continued development in managerial skills, and the characters I'm surrounded by.

    Cons

    Some transitions within the company take longer than expected, such as shedding classes when moving to a new position. Additionally, there are constantly new materials being developed and pushed out, and the focus on rolling out new products and curriculum changes sometimes detracts from being able to work as closely with individual teachers as I'd like. Also, as is often the case with many companies in China, holidays and days off sometimes change, but they always try to let us know early.

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  4. "Associate Director of Studies position"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Director of Studies in Beijing, Beijing
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Great training, professional development opportunities within the ESL industry.

    Cons

    Very Chinese style management structure.

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    EF English First Response

    Vice President

    Thank you for sharing your experience, and for being loyal to EF for 3+ years. We pride ourselves on our training and development opportunities, and we are glad to see that this was one of the areas you most valued about working with us. We are continously working to provide even better training, development, and growth opportunities for our teachers and staff. Coaching and mentoring are two areas we are currently focusing on, as we have identified a need, and understand the value they can provide for both new and experienced teachers. We value your feedback as it helps highlight what we are doing well and also where we can improve. Thank you again for your time with EF.

  5. Helpful (3)

    "EF Changshu - The Truth"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director of Studies in Changshu, Jiangsu
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    During my time at EF, I worked for three centers as well as in the Shanghai Headquarters. Here's the truth: EF Changshu hijacked my heart for life, and nothing else I've ever been a part of quite compares to the fellowship and camaraderie you feel on the adventure. For me, the experience was everything that I'd hoped it would be and more... The location is perfect for an authentic Chinese experience - in the centre you get all the buzz and electric vibe of an Oriental metropolis, and of course the city's gardens and teahouses preserve the elegance of the traditional China we all read about and see in the movies. The best part is that the school is directly opposite a stunning mountain and park! The HR department (bless them) take care of you so much. They help you with your apartment, your banking, your phone, taxis, finding your way around the city... They saved me so many times and I couldn't thank them enough! You get the consistent training, the ongoing feedback, and the professional support to strengthen your skills as a teacher and even build your career. That's how I ended up working in the Shanghai Headquarters. Everyone in the school really makes sure that it's more than a job. It turns into such an enjoyable experience because you're around people who you build a connection with and who actually care. The atmosphere is just like being with a bunch of friends. It turns into a joy and I've certainly missed the place and the people since I left.

    Cons

    If you are interested in finding the job with the most money, then this isn't for you. If you learn and grow here, it is possible to be promoted - but still, even the promotion, even with all the opportunities it offers, doesn't come with a big chunk of money. However, if you keep going then the professional experience you gain can turn into big bucks down the road. Trust me. As a manager, I was overworked. The local staff also have a lot to do. But I think the foreign teachers get a really good deal (definitely fewer hours than the average job back home, and much more enjoyable too!)

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  6. Helpful (2)

    "Director of Studies China Franchise"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies in Hangzhou, Zhejiang
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 10 years

    Pros

    Able to meet, work with, train and develop a large number of interesting people from all walks of life. Fast paced work and never a dull moment. Many opportunities for personal and (funded) professional development. Rewarding position with quick evidence of development of staff and students.

    Cons

    High staff turnover can sometimes be demoralising. Talent is sometimes thinly spread. Better staff retention will help this.

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  7. Helpful (7)

    "Good Training, Low Salary & Inexperienced Management"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Plenty of learning opportunities for motivated staff, although you have to seek these out. Good for meeting like-minded people living abroad.

    Cons

    Salary is very poor in comparison to competitors', and they mis-represent this on job adverts. Teachers who don't pass probation are expected to pay for their own flights home, after putting a non-refundable deposit down on an apartment.

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  8. Helpful (13)

    "Steep Learning Curve"

    5.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies in Tianjin, Tianjin
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    A very steep learning curve throughout your entire career with the company - this is a job you often walk into having very basic skills under your belt, but you are given adequate support and training to be able to hit the ground running. These are skills which are transferrable to different industries and which are achievements that can be looked upon as positive personal milestones. The company is very well-organised in terms of making you feel at home and giving you the right support where support is needed - China is not an easy place to live for a foreigner, but with the right support and assistance, which EF Tianjin provides, your life here can be very comfortable. You are given the opportunity to teach students from a culture so different from your own - I find that I learn as much from my students as they learn from me. Management understand that we will not be in China for the rest of our lives as foreigners, and provide us with skills that not only apply to current work situations, but also can be used for various other industries beyond the scope of our current employment. Management work hard to make our working environment as comfortable as possible. Managers don't only manage the school, they manage the teachers on a different level - they turn up at the hospital in an emergency, they help their staff member move house if there is nobody else to give a hand, they give travel advice! But this isn't it. As a manager myself, I am unequivocally supported by senior management, whether this be on a personal or a business level. Senior (and Regional!!!!) Management take the time to coach not only on current business practice, but ALSO on personal growth and development - it is comforting not only for me, but for my family as well, to know that I will have the support I need during any crisis I might face. YES I need to provide care to my own team, but sometimes I need that support as well, and I can tell you now, that support is there, no matter what.

    Cons

    Work hours can be long at times, but are generally balanced in the long-term. Sometimes we need to work holidays/festivals (Halloween etc) but management are always quick to jump in and buy us dinner when this happens. There are "extras" we need to do, which are often viewed as a drag, but in the long-run, it depends on what attitude we spin - these are actually good team-building opportunities to get to know the other people we work with on a different level, rather than seeing it in a negative light. The job and the expectations are made clear at the beginning. Unfortunately the ESL industry attracts a lot of people who just want an easy year living in China as opposed to viewing the opportunity as a time to work hard and contribute to a team, to learn and to GROW as an individual, so the attitude of colleagues who feel hard-done by as a result of the company requiring them to fulfil their end of the bargain is a little bit draining. As with any job, you're far away from home so it can be a little lonely at times - you do have a good support network of teachers in the city. This is the advantage of working in a city like Tianjin where there are six EF schools - the foreign teacher network is populous and reliable.

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  9. Helpful (4)

    "Terrible Management"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    They do take care of visas, apartments and the school are very nice (image-wise), the students are amazing and the parents are very nice but that's as much as it can be said.

    Cons

    Management is terrible, they are not clear as to goals, action plans. I have been working here for a long time and my managers have not offered any kind of support only threats that if I don't do my job as they see fit then we need to think about other options, but this is not the worst, the school is actually falling apart with chipped paint on the walls, the desks for the students are bent and if you light bulb goes out on your projector for your IWB they won't replace for weeks, don't bother complaining.

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  10. Helpful (2)

    "I've liked it so much I've spent four years within the EF franchise, moving from a teacher, senior teacher to DoS.."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director of Studies in Qingdao, Shandong
    Recommends

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The possibilities of promotion are very real and for a teacher with a real interest in making a career in the ESL world EF is a good place to be.

    Cons

    One minor issue for new teachers is adapting to higher hours in the winter and summer intensives but I have found once you've done one the others come easily.

Found 11 reviews