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EF English First ESL Teacher Reviews

Updated Nov 17, 2019

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2.4
50%
Recommend to a Friend
56%
Approve of CEO
EF English First CEO 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
13 Ratings
  1. "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
  2. 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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  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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    EF English First2019-09-08

    EF English First Response

    September 16, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for the post. I wanted to take the time to address some of the concerns you had about your experience at your EF school. Effective communication is especially important when working with different teams. Therefore, it is unfortunate to hear there were some challenges with this. With respect to Summer/Winter Courses, in addition to contracted salary, teachers receive a bonus based on the amount of Summer/Winter Courses they teach. Centers work hard to make the schedules as balanced as possible including, but not limited to, a reduction in lesson planning and admin time. Again, we will continue to work to improve our communication. Thank you for reaching out, we appreciate your feedback.

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  4. Helpful (17)

    "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 .

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    EF English First2019-06-25

    EF English First Response

    July 30, 2019Vice President

    We very much value the independent instructors on our platform and want to preserve these relationships for the benefit of the students on the platform, many of whom take lessons with the same teachers for several months in a row. For this and many other reasons, we strive to make sure that all teachers understand the platform set-up before they begin teaching, as well as student expectations that teachers arrive on time to the lesson. Though we always try to be flexible, given the young age of many of our students, we do need to make sure that lessons begin on time very consistently. If a teacher runs into a problem, we certainly would like to discuss the problem individually and try to understand it from all sides. We certainly regret that you feel that this did not happen in your case

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  5. Helpful (1)

    "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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    EF English First2019-08-25
  6. "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

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    EF English First2019-07-17
  7. Helpful (4)

    "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
  8. "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

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    EF English First2019-06-03
  9. Helpful (1)

    "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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    EF English First2019-05-27

    EF English First Response

    June 3, 2019Vice President

    EF follows the strictest standards for Health and Safety. These standards not only meet, but exceed all China government regulations. The safety and health and well-being of our students and staff has been, and will continue to be, our highest priority. Due to the very serious, and highly concerning, nature of your allegations, we ask that you email us at compliance.china@ef.com so we may identify the school and conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

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  10. Helpful (17)

    "Don't waste your time working a month without pay..."

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

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

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, work-from-home, exposure to unique people from around the world

    Cons

    You have to work two months before pay because they only pay monthly and you have to wait until the following month for your first paycheck. It started off nice and I felt like I was doing well when all of a sudden, they stopped adding classes to my schedule and my friend's despite us having high-scores as teachers even though classes were available, they just decided to phase us out. My friend and I opened EVERY time slot on both of our calendars and not one class was given to us for a full month. When we reached out, people stopped responding to us, acted like we didn't exist and then pretended like we were fired, when we were flat-out ignored. I attempted to reapply recently, as now I am even more qualified than when I worked there (teaching classes) for 7 months in 2017, but on paper, it was about a year. They denied that I was eligible and did not offer an explanation, even though they were hiring and I have a bachelor's degree, former experience with EF, high student remarks, 120-hour TEFL certification, and I have taught ESL for 3 years in total. What a joke! Do NOT WASTE YOUR TIME for two months before pay and to be treated like you are replaceable.

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    EF English First2019-05-15

    EF English First Response

    June 3, 2019Vice President

    Thanks for leaving a review of your experience working online with EF. Regarding your comments about pay, it’s required that teachers teach for a month, then submit their invoice after that month closes and teachers are paid thereafter. Class assignment is contingent upon student demand, which can vary. Teachers are always welcome to pick up subclasses or schedule classes directly with their repeat students to supplement the classes that go onto their schedule via the assignment process, which is performed by an automated tool that matches teacher availability with student demand for classes.

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Found 43 reviews