EF English First ESL Teacher Reviews

Updated 24 Jun 2020

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3.1
54%
Recommend to a Friend
47%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
18 Ratings
  1. Helpful (3)

    "Don't do it"

    1.0
    • 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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  2. Helpful (7)

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

    1.0
    • 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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  3. Helpful (2)

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

    3.0
    • 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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  4. "Some of your DOS's need to be looked into"

    2.0
    • 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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  5. Helpful (26)

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

    1.0
    • 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 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.

  6. "It's a good company, but be ready for the admin responsibilities."

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - ESL Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First for less than a year

    Pros

    There's career growth and development.

    Cons

    The schedule gets really heavy at times.

  7. Helpful (4)

    "Never Work for this Company"

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

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

    Pros

    They fly you out to China

    Cons

    Everything else I have been given horrible schedules that keep me isolated from my coworkers causing me not to interact with anyone. I have been told countless times how bad I am at my job even though I'm following their horrible curriculum. The training is a joke, and they want you to be chained to EF in everything you do. If you're at a really unorganized school like I was, they might accidentally terminate you and forget about it so you won't get paid that month, (This is true because it happened to me)

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    EF English First Response

    February 18, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for the post. We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience at your EF school and that you feel you were treated unfairly. EF is committed to providing the best possible work environment for every employee. We take any allegation of unfair or improper workplace treatment very seriously. Please contact us at compliance.china@ef.com so that we can conduct a fair and thorough investigation. And again, thank you for reaching out.

  8. "Worth the experience"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in China, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great employee benefits such as furnished apartment, monthly team building,end of contract bonus, medical aid options.

    Cons

    You don't get a weekend or school holidays off as those are actually peak times :(

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  9. Helpful (1)

    "ESL teacher"

    3.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    ESL Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend

    I worked at EF English First for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -Great training -Good visa -Help settling in

    Cons

    - underpaid -over worked -not much job progression

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  10. Helpful (1)

    "Online teacher"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Current Contractor - ESL Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You can work online from home.

    Cons

    You get paid next to nothing, and if a student doesn't show up for class, you only get paid about 15 minutes of your wait time, meanwhile, there is no way to recoup your lost time, and thus you lose big time money. Minus that from your low wage, and I averaged about 28 classes a month with student no shows. Bye Bye!

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Found 58 reviews