EF English First English As A Second Language Teacher Reviews

Updated 22 Jun 2020

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2.5
43%
Recommend to a Friend
54%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
5 Ratings
  1. Helpful (2)

    "Kind of like being in an abusive relationship."

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Chongqing, Chongqing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good place to get started when you really want to teach/live abroad and no one else will take you or you don't know better. They will take pretty much anyone regardless of experience/ability as their turnover rate is so high. They are always hiring. Most teaching materials are relatively well made. If you really enjoy working 70+ hours a week, they have good opportunities for advancement.

    Cons

    They will tell you it's a 40 hour a week job, which it is not. Closer to 60+ hours a week to finish everything they expect you to do. You are not a human being to EF, you are a disposable beast of burden. Most of their teachers are fresh out of college and come over to China for a "fun" year abroad, so they don't expect you to stay for longer than that. Anyone who sticks around longer than a year is a workaholic. Extreme pressure from management: nothing you do is ever good enough for them. All "training schools“ in China are essentially the same: for-profit organizations that masquerade as institutions of learning, but EF is the worst of them. You will generally make about 12k RMB a month, which is typical for training schools in China and which, if you aren't in a major city such as Shanghai or Beijing, is more than enough to live comfortably on. The problem is that the amount of work they claim you will be responsible for is not the same as the amount of work you will actually end up doing. Save yourself the exhaustion and stress and go work for Meten, you'll earn 50% more for half the work. The "Kids and Teens" program is comprised of about 90% children between the ages of 2-6, so you end up dancing and singing and generally acting like a clown for your paycheck most of the time. EF acts like they are the best of the best when it comes to English schools in China, and will make you feel like you will never be able to get a decent/well-paying position in China if you leave them. Yet I worked for three different training schools in China and they had the lowest salary for the largest amount of work. EF had this cute little tagline they liked to use while I was there that I think really exemplifies what they are all about. The tagline was "From 'hello' to Harvard," and this perfectly encapsulates what they do. EF, as well as all other for-profit English training schools for children in China, operate by selling Chinese parents this "dream" that, if their kid spends 2 hours a week attending their English class and does a bit of homework, they will become fully bilingual speakers who will grow up and go to attend a prestigious foreign university. The harsh reality is that this isn't how second language acquisition works, and a lot of these kids are being raised by their grandparents, who often do not even speak Mandarin, let alone a single word of English. So although it's a nice little slogan, shelling out thousands of RMB a year for your kid to go sing English songs and interact with native speakers is not really going to lead to them being Harvard grads in the future.

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    EF English First Response

    June 29, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your review. We regret to hear that you had a negative work experience. At EF, we work hard to provide a positive work environment for all teachers and staff whether someone is looking for a one year experience or a life-long career.

  2. "A good company for a beginning teacher"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Jakarta
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You will gain lots of experience in a low-pressure environment. The students are motivated and fun to teach. Materials are good and pre-made.

    Cons

    Some EFs will send you off to elementary/high schools in the morning, split shifts can be tiring. Some teachers work insane hours without many breaks, but it depends on the school.

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  3. "A Good Company for spring boarding into ESL Teaching"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Ningbo
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good training for teachers working in this company.

    Cons

    Restrict curriculum and lack of freedom of course structure.

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  4. "Great culture and coworkers"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    They really make you feel like you are at home despite living in a new country. They have a great on boarding and training program. I loved the coworkers and friends I met through the company.

    Cons

    The hours are rough, having to work weekends and till 8pm on weekdays.

    EF English First Response

    March 19, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thanks for the great review. We want all teachers to feel at home while teaching and living in China. Things have been challenging with the Caronavirus but good co-workers and trusted friends make things a little easier.

  5. Helpful (1)

    "more cons than pros"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    sense of community in the office, lovely to work with local teachers

    Cons

    Your salary hardly goes up, there are no HR resources at all, paid way less than other teachers at language centres, duties far exceed what one it told in the beginning, no paid sick leave, some centres very rundown compared to other high tech and comfortable ones.

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  6. Helpful (5)

    "Pick another school"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Jiaxing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Paperwork once you land is mostly done for you.

    Cons

    From worst to least worst: * EF Management will not keep their word. I worked there for 9 months then put in my two months notice and even have screenshots of my DoS saying my work visa would be transferred to my new school. EF waited until my last week to tell me they, and the investors, were refusing to transfer my work visa and I’d have to return to the USA in a few days or I’d be in the country illegally and face jail time. I am now in the US. * EF will go behind your back and cancel your permits without your consent or knowledge but inform you last minute. * You aren’t actually trained but are instructed to observe a fellow teacher and after a week begin co- teaching then receive the classes from the teacher who left before you. I went without a Senior Teacher observing me ever for 8 months and received no feedback. * The curriculum is very slow moving and poorly planned. Students in Small Stars (whether in Blue, A,B, or C) will learn to parrot questions and answers but aren’t actually learning how to have a conversation. It’s almost as if the authors of the curriculum spread out a course book over several courses and levels. Students in Small Stars, version 2.0 or 3.0, will learn the “what is it? It’s a ___” structure and really only two other structures which are “do you like____? Yes I do / no I don’t” and “how many___? 3 ___”. They can’t actually ask a native English speaker about themselves but they can ask “what time do you go home in the evening?” Even after going from Small Stars Blue through Small Stars C. It’s not conducive to interacting with native English speakers or foreigners. * The schedule for the following week will be made Sunday evening or even Monday of that week. * Newest teachers will be assigned Marketing Events due to their free schedule. Marketing at EF Jiaxing was a nightmare where I would speak to someone a week prior about an event I was assigned to only to be told nothing was needed of me except my attendance and participation. Come the day of the marketing team member would frantically ask me to prepare something like a report to read students or flash cards for a recent holiday then tell me the event isn’t 30 minutes as on my schedule but two hours. Also it isn’t in the center anymore it’s at a library on a stage. * The weekly workshops at EF Jiaxing contain no development or educational value. They are workshops for 3 hours that contain menial tasks corporate didn’t want to bother with and handed them down the ladder.

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  7. Helpful (3)

    "Such a shame"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Get to work in multiple locations abroad.

    Cons

    They lie about paying you back for flights (I was told this would happen as soon as I arrived but it actually comes in monthly installments). Seriously overworked and underpaid. They claim to offer language lessons, but with the great firewall of China none of us can access online lessons - pointless. Don't offer any help/guidance after first week. Upper management typically don't speak English at all, so if you have a problem with your boss there are very few solutions. Racism is a problem within China and although I never encountered this I was told it happened to other people within other EF offices.

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    EF English First Response

    July 12, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank-you for your post. We are sorry to hear that you are unable to take advantage of our online Chinese language lessons. We did some initial testing from Beijing this morning and didn’t experience any problems using a PC or Mobile. We did, however, experience some delays accessing the online classroom. We have escalated this issue to IT, for more expertise testing and they will follow up with the IT team in Beijing to further test any potential firewall issues. We appreciate you bringing this to our attention and we apologize for the inconvenience. It would be great if you can reach out to me personally so we can further investigate this issue. In terms of your flight reimbursement, please reach out to me as well at Mario.Bermeo@ef.com so I can collect the needed information to look into this matter.

  8. "It was fine"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Hangzhou, Zhejiang
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    I loved the people I worked with. I thought the salary was pretty decent. I liked the shift work. It was great getting Thursday and Friday off.

    Cons

    None that won't make me sound like I have an ax to grind so nevermind. Thank you for the opportunity and I'll leave it at that. Cheers.

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    EF English First Response

    March 24, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for your very positive post. We are happy to hear that you loved the people you worked with, as this is very important in any job. We are also very pleased to hear that you were happy with your salary and enjoyed having Thursday/Friday as your days off. If you have any further feedback, we encourage you to share it with us at teacher.feedback@ef.com. Although we love positive posts, we also appreciate learning about areas where we can improve.

  9. Helpful (2)

    "Overall a Pretty Good Place to Work"

    4.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Bengbu
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Decent pay that arrives on time -Lots of support and training once you arrive -Help with living and navigating life overseas -Chances for advancement are possible with hard work - Interesting coworkers and a good working atmosphere

    Cons

    -High turnover, lots of people stay for just a year and then move on -Sometimes can get a bit hectic and stressful, especially during the busy summer months when you have to teach your normal course load plus summer classes during the week -Sales pressure creeps into the lives of teachers a bit more than it should- generally the business and education goals of the company are balanced but sometimes the former is given too much importance

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