EF English First "china" Reviews | Glassdoor.co.uk

EF English First Employee Reviews about "china"

Updated 17 Feb 2020

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3.2
55%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
183 Ratings
Pros
  • "Large company with schools all over China(in 76 reviews)

  • "Great working environment - everyone is in their 20's and 30's(in 31 reviews)

Cons
  • "make it very difficult to leave company for another job in China(in 51 reviews)

  • "Production schedule isn't aligned with Chinese National holidays so cannot plan holidays in advance(in 27 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "china"

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  1. "Brilliant, supportive company. Great opportunities to learn and travel."

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

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

    Pros

    EF has a wealth of opportunities available if you seize them. Living and working in China brought great fulfilment and adventure and EF supported me through every step of the way.

    Cons

    There were times when the company was not the most organised.

    EF English First2020-01-15

    EF English First Response

    February 17, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback, and for acknowledging the wealth of opportunities available at EF. We would be interested in learning more about your EF experience, and ways we could better support you. Please feel free to reach out to us at teacher.welfare@ef.com.

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  2. "Predatory Employers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Foreign Language Teacher in Ningbo
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at EF English First

    Pros

    Literally the only ‘pro’ is that the work visa they provide is valid, albeit conditional.

    Cons

    Where to start? I’ve lived all over the world and worked in a myriad of work environments- I’m not adverse to hard work, but everything about EF is ‘predatory’. They actively recruit students right out of university that have little to no idea about what they want to do in the future. They promise them relatively decent pay vis-a-vis the current living cost. They additionally swear ‘up and down’ that new recruits will positively ‘love’ China and that they’ll be supported! The reality is starkly different. I found myself in China after my BA for no other reason than I wanted to learn Mandarin- I already speak several other languages and thought this would round me out. I began teaching classes after just one week of observation, which should’ve been the first red flag. As we were so short staffed due the ever-growing number of people that did ‘midnight runners’ because of the poor work environment, I easily worked 50 hour weeks from the start. This was later compounded by mandatory summer and winter schools that added another 12 hours and reduced my time off to just one, singular, solitary day. Were we compensated for the extra time in the class room? Hardly- we were given just 600 kuai per ‘camp’, which translates to just €80 or $85 at the time of writing. If you think that €6 to $7 per hour sounds bad for a college graduate, JUST WAIT! The regular salary is abysmal- positively abysmal. I’ve been paid better for internships. For a 50 hour work week I was paid just €1.190 or $1,290 per month. Which, again, averages out to an almost WHOPPING €6 or $6.50 an hour. If that wasn’t horrific enough, any halfway decent apartment costs at LEAST €400. And that living stipend they promised you? That covers maybe half, if you’re lucky. You aren’t able to save, in fact, you just barely scrap by. Which brings me to my next point. If you want to break your contract for any reason, you have to pay them- 30,000 kuai (€4.000) to be exact. Given the cost of living and the salary they pay you, you could maybe, MAYBE, afford to do that after 10 months if you’re prudent with your money, but even then that’s incredibly difficult. They’ve got you exactly where they want you. But why would you want to leave? If being paid a slave’s wages wasn’t discouragement enough, perhaps the work culture might be? Whilst working 50 hour weeks and consistently covering for other colleagues that had left or taken ill from the stress that came with the job, I was asked to repeatedly stay longer to decorate classrooms and just generally put in more time that was necessary. If you called in sick (because frankly, working with kid’s really tests your immune system) you had to qualify your sickness with the DOS. I had horrific gynecological issues whilst in China and despite my embarrassment, had to brief the management team when I asked to take a day off. I was once only allowed to leave my post after being sick in a trash bin. But, that’s only the metaphorical ‘tip of the iceberg’. Whilst working for EF I experienced sexual harassment, threat of violence and, to a less important degree, workplace misconduct. I had a colleague yell harassment at me at a work event, telling another colleague that I was a ‘whore’ and a ‘slut’, despite the fact that we were only talking about 90s pop. This continued into the workplace, when he frequently made comments of a sexual nature to me. My DOS, Carmel’s, response was that I shouldn’t be so provocative, despite the fact that I was wearing the company issues navy blue polo and ankle length khakis. Who would’ve thought that golf is the sexiest sport? A few months later, a 13 year old came to my class with a switchblade. He threatened another student that often made jokes at his expense. I stepped in between the two boys and managed to wrestle the knife away. I went to my manager directly and said I would no longer teach the child as I didn’t feel safe and didn’t want to feel unsafe in my work environment. Her response was to send a note home with the offending teenager, which was obviously ineffective. He remained in my class until I left my post. Lastly, my DOS was sleeping with a Senior Teacher, who was arguably promoted because of his personal relationship, not because of seniority. She would regularly come to our office and sit in his lap or just generally throw herself at him. When I tendered my letter of resignation to my DOS’s boss, I received an exit interview. Who should be in this interview, but my poorly behaved DOS? She proceeded to effectively try to ‘rip me a new one’ mid-interview. It had the opposite effect, I believe. TLDR; Don’t work for EF, you will regret it.

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    EF English First2020-02-18
  3. "English first"

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

    I worked at EF English First for less than a year

    Pros

    They fulfill all their promises, will help you get the correct visa to work in China , reimburse you for all your fees and they do get you an apartment.

    Cons

    Unless you're very disciplined and can wake up everyday before work at 7 am or earlier to hangout with friends , see a bit of China and exercise or whatever you like doing then you're life will be balanced...If not get ready to not have a life , you'll work 3 pm to 9pm usually office and teaching hours included...And once you got more than 18 classes on your plate you'll have to come in earlier to work to plan your classes or stay later..Lots of surveillance and recording in class so you really never feel free or have the space to be yourself with the kids. Parents constantly complain and blame you for everything, toxic coworkers who love to gossip with the exception of a few . Kiss Weekends goodbye too, you'll be at work from 9 am to 8:30pm teaching back to back classes with not much time to eat a decent meal or even breath because you'll be scrambling the office grabbing materials , printing stuff, while dodging all your stressed out coworkers and constantly being yelled at by PA parent advisors about making videos , doing open lessons , and grading papers.. they have summer and winter fun which isn't fun at all. You better bring a sleeping bag to work you'll be there all day and only get on day off in that time and extra classes. Unless you're a cheerleader , flamboyant , and super social , you're going to have to attend many extra events and activities after work, you're life is basically for the company and they want to absorb as much as they can with pretty low pay. You're constantly yelled at for speaking Chinese to the kids and are told to tell the kids they can't speak Chinese lol the classes are tense and the PA are tense... No fun at all

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    EF English First2019-12-16

    EF English First Response

    February 17, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    We appreciate you taking the time to share your feedback. Teaching can be a very stressful job with high demands from parents, and unsociable hours. During the recruitment proces we are quite clear with all candidates that teaching in China requires evening and weekend teaching as these are our peak operating hours.

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  4. "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.

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    EF English First2019-11-28

    EF English First Response

    December 8, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your 5+ years of dedication to EF. We are happy to hear that you've had support along your journey and have made many friends as well. In regards to further opportunities, we have implemented several new career development initiatives over the past 3 years, including our Academic Career Ladder. We understand, however, that more work could still be done in this area. We would love to hear more about your EF career goals and how we could better support you. Please feel free to reach out to me at Mario.Bermeo@ef.com.

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  5. "pros and cons of working at EF"

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

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

    Pros

    Opportunity to meet people from all corners of the world, travel around China to teach at summer camps, good chance to improve for inexperienced teacher

    Cons

    too many teaching hours and cover classes, not much encouragement for experienced teachers, salary is not high enough

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    EF English First2019-11-26
  6. "Great Company. Good opportunities to develop your career. Meet people from around the world."

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

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

    Pros

    Great working environment - everyone is in their 20's and 30's. Working with children and teens. Good opportunity to develop your career and start your own projects. Low teaching hours. about 3 classes a day. All materials and lesson notes are provided. Great opportunity to work with people from different countries such as China, America, Canada, UK, South Africa, Australia. Free months events to meet teachers from other schools. Lots of free time to travel in China. Salary is always paid on time every month. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Production schedule isn't aligned with Chinese National holidays so cannot plan holidays in advance. Low base salary.

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    EF English First2019-11-25

    EF English First Response

    December 8, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your post. It's great to hear that you have had such a rewarding 3 years with EF. We hope that you continue to grow with EF.

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  7. Helpful (1)

    "Kids and Teens English Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fuzhou, Fujian
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    The company does a really good job preparing you for life in China. The company took care of all my paper work and visa requirements. The company also had a wonderful community of teachers working together. I was able to meet people from all over the world. If you don't understand Chinese it is vital to have a good support system of other international teachers. There are also a lot of opportunities to move up in the company.

    Cons

    This job is not suitable for people who go to China expecting not to work. It is also not a good job for people who have an education major. This company is a business and many things that happened while in the company were decisions made for the parents and not the students. It is also hard because teachers aren't able to see their students everyday. We were only able to see the individual students weekly. You should try to go for a smaller city because the pay is low for big cities like Shanghai and Beijing.

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    EF English First2019-10-27

    EF English First Response

    November 3, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for sharing your EF experience with us. We understand that moving to a new country can be stressful, and we take great pride in the relocation support we provide our new teachers. Teaching is not an easy job, it requires hard work and dedication. while EF is a business, we work hard to ensure that the decisions we make are always in the best interest of our students.

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  8. Helpful (10)

    "Unethical. Torture."

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

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

    Pros

    Legal visa. You get paid on time. Great coworkers to suffer with.

    Cons

    This is by far the worst job I've ever done. The advertisements give this impression that you will have all the free time to "explore china". But in reality, it's a lie. This is just a factory job. The website (and my recruiter) state that flights are free but even that's misleading. They give you a tiny monthly "flight allowance" on top of your paycheck but upon calculating, it'll require you to work for about 17 months in order to purchase a regular two-way North American flight: far longer than your one year contract. And the pay: It's terrible and far below the standard for international teachers in Shanghai. They also give you the impression that food and housing would be far lower than reality. After the aformentioned, and taxes, you'll most likely have about 2000 rmb (280 USD) to save. That's barely anything considering how they promised a Western standard of living. *Fun story. I heard from teachers in other cities that they were told that their flights would be covered. However, they actually had to pay for the flight to Shanghai and then EF covers for their transfer flight. What kind of sneaky thing is this? That's like giving a free three course meal but in the end, you have to pay for everything except for the dessert. But don't worry, this cheap, down-to-the-cent attitude is what you'll get throughout working here. Upon landing, I already knew something was off. The school decided to place our hotels in some Holiday Inn 1 HOUR away from the actual head office where we were supposed to meet for "training". During training, which didn't really prep us for anything, they informed us that they will hold our documents "for safekeeping". Like come on we're fully grown adults. Obviously this was suspicious from the get-go. Afterwards, you're sent to your designated center. And oh my god, was it a nightmare. I find out from the senior teachers that multiple people have left and I'm there just to patch up the sinking ship. Oh btw the turnover rate is crazy! Most people never even finish their 1 year contracts and if they do, they almost never stay for another year. What kind of fulltime job has people only staying for 1 YEAR???? I was explicitely told to hide where my family came from, lest it makes it less attractive for the parents to have me as a teacher. Humiliating. A couple days later, I had to witness a local teacher crying due to stress. Now, I'm someone with no prior experience teaching kids (which are most of the teachers). Imagine that you're given 1.5 weeks to observe different classes and then you're thrown into the deep end with a full schedule. And since I joined during Summer course, my schedule was beyond overloaded. They don't schedule enough time for me to prepare each individual class. They leave big multi-hour gaps in your day so that they can legally and financially say that you've only worked 40 hours and nothing more. (Expecting you to use that time to prep. OTHERWISE KNOWN AS WORK). They also expect you to do a lot of unnofficial unpaid duties outside of the office such as doing standardized tests. On most of my working days, I've worked from 8:30am to 10:30pm. And even though my massive center is understaffed, they'll take any kid as long as their parents have money. Even if he's distruptive, destructive, and in my case: loudly wishing for my death. The teachers have no actual power to deal with these situations. Even after all that, the school decided to keep him with zero reprocussions. At this point, I was basically being paid to be bullied and harrassed. When I voiced my concerns, my manager deflected it and suggested I was suffering from culture shock. EF is a business but it has zero respect for itself as a school. This is unheard of in any other teaching facilities or private schools. Oh, and throughout all this, I had no access to my work email. Thereby making my life even more complicated. So yea, you'll be dead tired. And when you're dead tired, they still expect you to be this perfect happy go-lucky teacher. You take all the risk leaving your life behind and moving to China while the company loses nothing. They can fire you on a whim and that's what happened to me. I was let go one day before the end of my probation despite having great reviews from 99 percent of parents and students. (And coincidentally, at the very end of the busiest time of the year). The reason was laughably arbitrary and nitpicky; such as not writing down how I would meet each named student's needs in a classroom, how I decided to teach the 'reading' segment after the break than before, and how I sometimes gave the answer to a struggling student during a review. A review. Not a test. None of the other senior or junior teachers expected this outcome at all. I later find out that most of my students were told "I had resigned due to a family emergency". How insulting is that. At least own up to your actions. (Apparently this is standard procedure for any teacher leaving). Upon termination of my contract, EF did everything they could to prevent me from getting another job. Including witholding my documents that I paid for. -Which is borderline illegal. (These are the same documents that the company promised to reimburse me with but didn't). This kind of unproffesional & spiteful behavior is shockingly stupid. It goes against any business sense at all. Why go out of your way to make your company look worse by alienating your former employees. With only a month to stay in China, and due to EF's obscuring behavior, I had to go to extreme lengths to secure a new visa including speaking to the American consulate, my local connections in Shanghai, and the Chinese Labor Board. Think about how crazy this is: I HAD TO INVOLVE MY GOVERNMENT AND THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT just so I can circumvent EF's childish actions. This job brought me to the breaking point. I was set up to fail. EF doesn't really care about its workers. It's owned by a billionaire but does its best to increase its margins against the physical and psychological wellbeing of its employees. They could improve everyone's lives but just choose not to. The morale of my co-teachers was non existent. Most of them looked disheartened and broken. The company treats you like an idiot; giving you only excuses.

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    EF English First2019-10-11

    EF English First Response

    November 3, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Your experience with EF does not reflect our commitment to providing the best possible work environment for all employees. Due to the serious nature of your allegations, we request that you contact us at teacher.welfare@ef.com so that a fair and thorough investigation into the allegations can take place. Thank you.

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  9. 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.

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    EF English First2019-08-25

    EF English First Response

    August 30, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your 2+ years of dedication and hard work. We are happy to hear that you had a well-organized and professional on-boarding experience. Your advice to extend our current Academic Career Ladder to more non-management positions is a good one, and something we are currently considering. We would be interested in talking about this further with you. Please feel free to reach out me at my EF email address. mario.bermeo@ef.com

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  10. 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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    EF English First2019-08-16

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