EF English First "china" Reviews | Glassdoor.ie

EF English First Employee Reviews about "china"

Updated 15 Dec 2019

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3.2
56%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
178 Ratings
Pros
  • "Large company with schools all over China(in 75 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 50 reviews)

  • "Production schedule isn't aligned with Chinese National holidays so cannot plan holidays in advance(in 26 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "china"

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  1. "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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    Advice to Management

    None, it's a business business is business..

    EF English First2019-12-16
  2. "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
  3. "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.

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    Cons

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

    Advice to Management

    Increase the base salary especially for Tier 1 cities like Shanghai and Beijing where cost of living is higher.

    EF English First2019-11-25
  4. "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

    Advice to Management

    Hire more teachers than needed, so the projects don't fall short of staff during the semester if someone leaves. Provide more incentive for qualified teachers

    EF English First2019-11-26
  5. 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.

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    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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    Advice to Management

    Please become more unified throughout all the schools. Many times the decisions made for the school were at the manager's discretion and it would not be fair to other schools.

    EF English First2019-10-27
  6. Helpful (9)

    "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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    Advice to Management

    Hire more people. Pay more. Reduce hours. Treat people like human beings instead of expendable puppets. Stop writing fake reviews. How about actually spend the effort to solve the issue. There is something inherently wrong with the company structure and business practice.

    EF English First2019-10-11
  7. 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
  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. "Work hard for huge return."

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

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

    Pros

    *Training - a lot of teachers come to work with EF who don't have adequate training. EF has weekly training sessions and one-on-one mentoring to get you ready for the classroom. *Career development - if you work hard, your efforts are recognised and your career will progress. But it takes two to tango - you get out what you put in. *Living in China and receiving a salary which is appropriate for an expat means the ability to travel in China, and being in Tianjin means 2 hours from Osaka, Shanghai and Seoul. *Being close to Beijing, but still outside of China's capital means that prices aren't so expensive. *EF Tianjin really looks after their employees and cares about personal and professional development. Trips around the region, lunch budgets in summer, dinners, KTV nights out. The company actually cares about you as an employee.

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    Cons

    *Hours are long, but if you're organised, then you can get your work done and learn good time management skills from managers in order to do this better. *It gets hot in Tianjin, if you don't like heat, at least all of the schools and offices are airconditioned, and in winter it gets really cold, but heating is adequate. *Communication can be a little difficult but the school has free Chinese lessons etc.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing what you're doing.

    EF English First2019-07-15
  10. "Teaching Teachers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Recommends
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I have loved working with the students. EF gives me the opportunity to work with a wide range of ages and abilities. EF also provides wonderful continuing education through in-center and city-wide training, supporting teachers to develop themselves. Many of the 'foreign' teachers (native English speakers living in China or another country with EF schools) have no prior teaching experience, so this gives everyone necessary teaching skills. It is beneficial for the teachers attending and volunteering to lead the training. There are lots of opportunities to take on more roles within the center. At various times I've taken on technology specialist, content creation, in-center trainer, holiday party coordinator, teacher test invigilator, schedule creation, pod manager, and more.

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    Cons

    This is a business and it is focused on making money. It values educating the students, but mainly in terms of making parents happy, with less interest in the students' long term success. As a career teacher, this can be disheartening. Teachers are only expected to stay for a year or two, so it can be hard to keep forming and maintaining relationships with new co-workers. This also means constantly having to train new co-workers and being pushed into management roles before feeling ready.

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    EF English First2019-07-13
Found 104 reviews