EF English First ESL Teacher Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

EF English First ESL Teacher Reviews

Updated Nov 28, 2019

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2.6
45%
Recommend to a Friend
43%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
15 Ratings
  1. "Great Experience in Shanghai"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    It's an international city in China. You may find people working here from all over the world. The company provides great support to all the teachers. I made many friends working here.

    Cons

    Because the city is so fast paced, some people may need some time to get used to the life in Shanghai. You may find some different rules working in different school. Mostly it's quite nice and well organized.

    Advice to Management

    There are many opportunities for people who want to improve themselves. But I think if we can provide the staff more chances would be even better.

    EF English First2019-11-28
  2. Helpful (2)

    "Ef Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    great support for visa application

    Cons

    low salary and un reasonable contract demands

    EF English First2019-11-18
  3. Helpful (3)

    "Stress"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai

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

    Pros

    You get paid on time and your visa is sorted

    Cons

    Extremely stressfull environment to work in. Incredible staff turnover. One of the biggest problems was the course consultants demanding you do exactly what the parents wanted. Even if this demand went against the student's best interests, e.g. Putting a student in a class that was not suitable for their level because their parents think their child is a wunderkind or because they didn't like a certain teacher. This... was done a number of times without the students being tested. I protested this to no avail. This of course led to all sorts of problems in class. Another problem was as soon as the ccs/ management find out you are a good/ popular teacher you will find your schedule jampacked and your classroom filled up with students. This would not be a problem if you didn't see other bad/ unpopular teachers sitting back in the office with fewer classes and getting paid just as much if not more depending on how long they have been there. One of the other problems was the staff rooms for teachers, they used to be so cramped, uncomfortable and hot in the schools I worked in. This led to teachers having arguments with each other and ccs, etc. I saw so many arguments in different schools, and a good few local/foreign managers fired. During an open door the parents will come and observe your class if you do well most parents will pay for another course if not your cc will be very unhappy with you because they get commission for every student that stays for another course. You as a teacher get nothing extra. The pressure some new teachers are under during these open doors is huge. The pressure coming from management and ccs. Summer and winter courses are intense. Be prepared to work from 9:00 AM to 9:00 even 10:00 pm on weekdays and your normal 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends. But don't worry you will have no office hours during morning and evening classes during summer course. This is just management saying we don't have to pay you between morning and evening classes because you have no office hours. You are still expected to do lesson plans, correct tests etc. It's a complete joke. In one school I worked in 80 percent of teachers quit just before summer course. They couldn't take it anymore.

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    Advice to Management

    I'm surprised you guys are still around to be honest. One of the reasons I guess is that you can always replace a teacher once they've left with a new one. Teacher turnover must be 80 to 90% per year. I've seen a good few managers get fired/ leave/ resign in my time there too. A lot of the problems are easily fixable in the company but they never are because you must still be making a profit and your turnover rate... doesn't really concern you. I guess the only headwind for you in future will be the fact that you expanded so rapidly in China and the economy there is slowing down, along with the yuan depreciating and increased anti foreigner sentiment.

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    EF English First2019-09-08
  4. Helpful (1)

    "2+ years in and would still probably recommend"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Can't speak for everyone, but I had a well-organized and professional onboarding process. Actual teacher training. They give you support to integrate in China more effectively (whether everyone makes use of it is another story). The products and materials to teach are useful and well-structured. Opportunities to study further within TESOL are prominent.

    Cons

    The workload can be heavy at a rate that's not really proportional to the pay. Especially during busy summer and winter periods. At a larger school, opportunities for career progression/promotion have been painfully slow, though this always depends. School operations tend to be more sales focused; sometimes requiring teachers to put aside academic quality.

    Advice to Management

    Excellent teachers do not necessarily make excellent managers. Show concern for the work-life balance. Also would be nice to have more career pipelines available other than just becoming a manager, more on the 'academic' side.

    EF English First2019-08-25
  5. Helpful (20)

    "The Good and the bad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Tampa, FL
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    You will get plenty of classes working with EF. I was teaching 70 classes a week. The lesson plan is good. The pay is good.

    Cons

    After working 6 months with EF I was fired. The day that I was fired my lesson plan did not fully loaded up. I left the class and re-entered the class, I hoping the second time I would be able to see the lesson plan. However, this caused me to be 30 seconds late to class. EF was quick to terminate my contract and was unwilling to listen to me. I think they view their employees as disposable .

    Advice to Management

    Not to be so quick to fire and respond to your emails about tech problems.

    EF English First2019-06-25
  6. Helpful (3)

    "Don't do it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Intern - ESL Teacher in Beijing, Beijing

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

    Pros

    Mediocre pay. Other than that there are none.

    Cons

    *Crappy salary. *Hostile work environment. *Double standard. Native speakers get paid a little bit more than local teachers, but are treated ten times worse. *No appreciation. *Lots of classes with no time to prepare. *Management never helps answer questions. *People there are fake. *If you are a native speaker and aren't "teacher of the year", then management goes out of their way to get rid of you. *Waste... of your life. *McDonald's of the ESL industry. *They lay off most of their employees after 6 months.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't sit around all day and actually try to help teachers when they need it.

    EF English First2019-08-25
  7. Helpful (2)

    "Can be good or bad, depending on where you are placed."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Efficient system Very clear career ladder Legal visa process Paid for lesson planning time

    Cons

    You don't always have a TA Summer and Winter course Relatively low pay compared to other TEFL jobs

    Advice to Management

    In some centers promotions happen within weeks, and in others promotions take years. You need to set a standard for this to manage expectations.

    EF English First2019-07-17
  8. Helpful (7)

    "EF Nanjing - Don't bother if you want more than a year abroad"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Nanjing, Jiangsu
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    - Good with helping you settle in upon arrival (visa/bank account/SIM card etc) (Although actually they make everything seem rushed, only let you see 1 or 2 houses, and only give you 5 days hotel to settle in, find a house AND move) - Mostly paid on time - Good professional development (TKT exam every 3~ months) - Occasionally a free welcome meal/team building thing

    Cons

    Where to begin.... - Overworked from the beginning. They give you a week 'training' but its a lot of talk and not much else, then you're thrown into the deep end with a full schedule from the beginning. They don't seem to factor in that you also have to plan these 16 classes a week. In theory, it should be 42 hours weekly AVERAGED out over summer and winter course (we'll come to those) but it is not. I worked 45... hours average regularly. - If you're a somewhat good teacher who cares, you will be given extra work and no thanks. If you're a bad teacher, don't worry! You will get the paid as others (if not more) but you will be given only a few regular classes a week and absolutely nothing else. - Discrimination. If you are the "perfect foreigner" (white, blonde, blue eyes) you will be given extra marketing activities, demo classes, life clubs etc regardless of your teaching capability. If you are anything but, believe me, the PAs and CCs are working their hardest to stop you from doing that. - Discrimination II. As with most schools in China, there is a LARGE pay gap between Chinese and Foreign staff, not to mention that Chinese staff do A LOT more than foreigners. (Be aware if this when you start complaining about low pay, their pay is a fraction of yours.) Many Chinese staff in my school were held back from progressing to senior levels too. If a Chinese teacher acted like some of the foreign teachers, they would have been fired MONTHS before. -Under-qualified management. Do you want to make it to management instead of teaching? How do you do that? Literally stick around long enough, make it clear that you're here for the long haul, and you will be promoted to management in no time. Yep, that easy. Half of management are under qualified, and have no experience, and the school suffers because of that. The other half of management make stupid short-term decisions, and then blames everyone below them, instead of reflecting inwards. - Using the work visa to trap employees. You heard it here first, if you try to leave early because you are underpaid and overworked (other training schools pay a lot more), your visa and permits will be held against you, they will threaten to cancel them if you don't complete your contract or if you don't resign. Basically, regardless of when you leave, they will try to bully you into staying. Probably better to not be employed by them in the first place. - Money grabbing. EF may be a business, but it should be a school first and foremost. Every month the sales team are given unreachable and unrealistic targets to get new students to pay, even when every teacher is on a full schedule. Most students are on waiting lists, and classes won't open until parents group together to bully management into opening new classes (there's that short-term goal mindset). Teachers are physically unable to plan quality lessons - High turnaround. In the year that I was with EF, PAs, CCs, teachers, management, front desk all changed regularly. People came, people went and its a stressful place to work in. EF need to sort it out and figure out why people leave. - Working hours. Maybe this should come higher up. You should know that all training schools are predominantly evening and weekends. Others however, offer one weekend day off. However, during summer and winter vacation teachers are expected to have classes in the am, regular classes in the pm, and here's the kicker.... NO OFFICE HOURS. At first, you might think wow how great. But actually, lessons aren't going to plan themselves. Oh no. So what really happens is you work 12 hour long days, for no extra money at all. - Bonuses. EF offer a gazillion different bonuses. But when it gets down to it, you have to spend money on getting receipts, to avoid tax, and then they still manage to figure out how to reduce the amount anyway. TRUST NOTHING. Always check your paycheck and ask questions. Even better, don't work here. There are better training schools and jobs out there.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't bully your staff into staying. Try to figure out WHY there is such a huge turnaround and do something about it. Don't expand so fast if you can't actually afford to have that many staff Dont open classes if their aren't enough teachers to have them

    EF English First2019-08-16
  9. "Some of your DOS's need to be looked into"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - ESL Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First for less than a year

    Pros

    The kids, colleagues and teaching resources

    Cons

    Work hours, salary, management and weird working hours during Summer and Winter programs

    Advice to Management

    Treat your staff a little better... some teachers were cut so much slack for being a preferred race. They could take time off without being questioned and then some of us had to take on extra classes with no extra pay

    EF English First2019-06-03
  10. Helpful (4)

    "STAY AWAY"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Met good company to suffer through the dumpster fire with.

    Cons

    Our center painted the walls and laid new carpet in a building with no openable windows. Eventually, the staff starts getting sick. After one employee went to the doctor we find out its acute benzene poisoning. We had to fight to get the center shut down even after this. And a reminder, there are children going in and out of this literally toxic place. Our Canadian boss lied and dodged responsibility till he... finally broke down.

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    Advice to Management

    I honestly hope to one day live in a world free of EF English First.

    EF English First2019-05-27
Found 44 reviews