EF English First Employee Reviews about "china"

Updated 22 Jun 2020

To filter reviews, or .
3.2
56%
Recommend to a Friend
57%
Approve of CEO
EF English First President 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
198 Ratings
Pros
Cons
  • "make it very difficult to leave company for another job in China(in 54 reviews)

  • "Production schedule isn't aligned with Chinese National holidays so cannot plan holidays in advance(in 30 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Reviews about "china"

Return to all Reviews
  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.

    Continue reading

    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. Helpful (1)

    "There are better places to work in China"

    1.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Had great co-teachers, and made life long friends -Lots of options for professional growth -Will provide you with a valid work visa, and are very helpful with the work visa process. They will also provide you with a lot of support when you first come to China, which is very helpful for people who don't understand Chinese -Lots of materials and resources, you can easily teach classes here without making any kind of worksheet or flashcard yourself -Swanky events during the winter months. Christmas party and the Annual General Meeting are fun

    Cons

    -Pays badly for the amount of work they expect you to do - Treats their teachers like products -Bonus system is bad - your DoS can essentially take away ~1200rmb a quarter if they don't like you -Micromanaging hell -Obsessed with bespoke lesson planning. I understand that lesson planning is important for all levels, but if a teacher has to plan 10+ lessons a week it's understandable that they might take shortcuts by copy-pasting some things from the Teacher Notes that EF provides. The fact that we're not just discouraged from using EF's lesson notes, but actively punished if we do use them, is outrageous- what's the point in having them if we can't use them!? -Dysfunctional management that will prioritize money over basically everything else. Poor at communicating with teachers. Will actively lie and threaten employees if they ask questions they don't want to answer. During the online teaching period, they gave out a myriad of warnings for stupid things in order to save money (because a warning means you don't get your bonus for that quarter) -Professional growth is bad - the teachers teaching it have no idea what they're doing. The only benefit to doing the professional development with EF is the certificate you get at the end saying you did it - Will mistreat 'bad' employees. Some of the 'bad' employees I worked with included: people who took sick leave, people who talked about pay openly, people who were critical of decisions from the company, people who didn't write enough WeChat comments, people who did unconventional things for their classes (play instruments, for example), people who played game consoles during their break (which would be understandable if it weren't for the fact that they have no problem with teachers watching TV on their laptops, or even playing games on their phones), people who were too busy during the online teaching period to come into the office (some teachers had ~25 teaching hours during that time, and they also had to make PPTs for every class during that time because EF's resources didn't translate well to online teaching), etc, etc... -Treat people who 'break contract' like garbage, regardless of how much good work they did during their time with the company. I honestly would have considered working with them again (because getting a work visa for China can be difficult, so the fact that they provide one really is a huge plus for new teachers) if it weren't for the way I was treated when I left.

    Continue reading

    EF English First Response

    June 27, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your review. We're glad you found the visa process helpful and that you've been able to make life long friends while at EF. Also thank-you for acknowledging our many development opportunities. We're concerned, however, about your comments related to management. Please reach out to us at teacher.welfare@ef.com so that we can learn more about your time at EF. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.


  3. Helpful (3)

    "Not terrible, but there are many better ESL companies"

    2.0
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Foreign Teacher in Tianjin, Tianjin
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No Opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -The visa process was very professionally done, very smooth and I was kept well informed and given clear steps on what to do. -The onboarding was fairly good. It was a lot of talking and PPTs, but had some useful parts, like observing lessons. Also, EF assigned a day of our onboarding to travel arround the city, to help us feel comfortable in our new enviroment. -I've heard many teachers were given a full schedule when they arrived, but I was eased into my schedule and classes, given lots of opportunities to observe lessons. -EF provided a very nice shared apartment to stay for 3 months, then helped with finding a more permanent place. Most companies only provided a temporary apartment for 2,3 days. -Pay was always delivered on time. -Will help you to settle in: will set up a bank card, help you get a sim card, etc.

    Cons

    -As mentioned earlier, we were given a temporary apartment for 3 months until we were told to find our own place. However, when i was advertised this, I was told that we would be provided an apartment, or we had the choice to look for our own. When I arrived, I was told we could only stay there for 3 months. This would be fine, but EF shouldn't lie to us about this. -There is a discrimination of the teachers based on there colour and background. If you are white, and have 'foreign features', then you will be peraded around almost like a circus animal. A lot of life clubs and events were given only to white teachers, regardless of their experience. -We have 13 days 'annual leave' in our contracts over the 15 months, for holdays and breaks. This isn't bad, we are essentialy told when we can and can't use this. I had applied for multiple annual leaves, only to be told I couldn't go. -The pay is very poor compared to other ESL companies, it's about 1/2 or 1/3 of what most ESL companies will pay. -There is a massive discrimination between Chinese and foreign staff. I mentioned that the pay is low, but the chinese staff are paid about 1/2 of what the foreign staff are paid. Also, in the first contract, which lasts 15 months, local teachers are allowed no annual leave. If they sign a new contract, then they are allowed 5 days of annual leave for 15 months. -The lessons were primarily in the evening, and on the weekend. These times made it hard to socialize and go to different events. -Although the teaching hours are relatively low, there is so much admin to complete that the actual working hours are really high. Lesson planning, preperation, test marking and other admin meant that most weeks I would work over 45, sometimes over 50 hours. -The summer course and winter courses is a really difficult time. We would have our summer course lessons in the mornings, then our regular classes in the evenings. We were told we could relax during this time, however, the lesson planning is compulsory, so between these lessons, teachers would do lesson planning and preperation. This meant that during summer courses, we would work often 12+ hours-a-day. -EF were very focused on the cleanliness and presentation of the schools, but never seemed to take much interest in the teaching conditions. When I moved to the center, I was told the AC had some problems and would be fixed soon. During the 15 months I worked there, the most they did was to buy very very cheap fans for the classrooms, which did nothing. Temperatures in the classrooms would often get 30C+, and sometimes I even had to run to the bathroom to vomit during classes because of heat exhaustion. I mentioned this often to management, but the most that was done about this was buying those extremely cheap fans, which did nothing. -The teaching resources we had were poor. There were two primary websites we used, one for taking attendance, test results, etc., and one for storing teaching materials needed for the lessons. Both of these were almost always crashing, or not working. I was told when I arrived that these websites were new, and may have a few problems to start with. In all my time there, I felt nothing was done to fix these issues. We had very little to use in our lessons, pretty much some balls and a couple of stuffed toys. -We made to sit through various compulsory trainings. These trainings were nearly always pointless and a waste of time. -EF seemed to act more like a business than a school. They often seemed to prioritize the parents often ridiculous demands than the treatment of the employees. Often the management would do nothing to stick up for their employees. I heard that a parent made a complaint because a teacher stepped on a flashcard during a lesson, and the teacher was then given a warning because of this. I also heard one parent yelling at a PA, making her cry, but no action was taken against him. -Like many people have said, EF makes it very difficult to find a new job if you leave their employment. For example, EF wont give you a reference if you leave before two years (the standard contract is 15 months). Also, EF will refuse to transfer your visa to another company if you want to work for a different company in China. -Whilst the majority of students were amazing, there were some exceptions. For new students, most sign up after going to a 'demo lesson'. In these demos, I've seen some students push other kids, push over chairs, run a round the school, only to hear that they later sign up. These students are a risk to other children and shouldn't be allowed to sign up if they have these behavioural tendencies. Also, I've had lessons with students who had been violent, punching, kicking, pushing other students and continuously interrupting. In these cases, these students should not be allowed to carry on to the next level, but they let them. The teachers have very little they can do about their behaviour. We had a three tier, yellow, amber, red warning system, where if they were given the final red warning, they would fail the course. However, almost always the PA would be unwilling to give these warnings to parents, so the warnings wouldn't be processed.

    Continue reading

    EF English First Response

    May 29, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your detailed review. We're happy to hear that you had a pleasant and supportive onboarding experience. Hours and annual leave are discussed during the recruitment process and in our contracts for your review before accepting an offer to join the team. In regards to salaries, they are reviewed to make sure they keep in mind cost of living and competitiveness within the market. We acknowledge that there are differences in packages for local and international staff, this is not intended as a preferential treatment but takes into consideration the startup and ongoing costs of relocation to a foreign country. EF is under no legal obligation to assist with a visa transfer, however depending on the city requirements certain documents will be provided back to staff. We are concerned about your comments regarding discrimination and encourage you to reach out to compliance.china@ef.com for the matter to be further investigated. We are also concerned about the teaching conditions and the lack of resources provided to you, please email us at teacher.welfare@ef.com in order to further look into this. Your feedback is appreciated.

  4. Helpful (1)

    "Growth, Support and Strength"

    5.0
    • 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

    I feel really compelled to write a message of support for a company which has really had its' employees back during the most recent health crisis which has faced our world. EF English First Tianjin has been transparent, efficient and shown compassion for employees throughout this entire situation. We've had updates from management in a timely manner, we've had care packages including vegetables and fruit, hand sanitiser and masks. We've had information provided clearly and consistently, something which has been appreciated not only by me, but by my family here in China and back home as well. From a work perspective, I feel I have had the opportunity to grow during this time as well - whilst I see many examples of friends and colleagues from other companies continue to struggle or obtain even basic information with regard to their work situation, EF has hit the ground running, providing training and support for teachers on a teaching level, whilst also considering physical and mental health. Whilst the current situation will not continue forever, it's important to recognise exactly what the company has done for its' employees in a time of crisis - and I feel that EF English First Tianjin should be recognised for its' achievements in recent months. The most important thing is that I've felt safe and reassured that I'm a part of a company which truly does put its' employees first. Thankyou EF English First.

    Cons

    - Right now the largest detractor is not being able to meet face-to-face with colleagues for collaboration and inspiration; but our communications system is well-established and has allowed us to somewhat get around this issue in such a difficult time.

    Continue reading

    EF English First Response

    April 10, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for taking the time to recognise the efforts of EF Tianjin. We're happy to hear that you've felt supported and have been provided with proper communication and supplies during this special period. Communication is very important to us especially during times like this. We hope to be back in schools soon so we can resume that face to face collaboration. Please feel free to reach out to Teacher.Welfare@ef.com if you would like to share any additional details about your experience.

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

    4.0
    • 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 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.

  6. Helpful (2)

    "Predatory Employers"

    1.0
    • 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.

    Continue reading

    EF English First Response

    April 13, 2020Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for reaching out. We take allegations of unfair or improper workplace treatment very seriously. Please contact us at compliance.china@ef.com so that a fair and thorough investigation into your claims can take place.

  7. Helpful (1)

    "English first"

    2.0
    • 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

    Continue reading

    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.

  8. "Great Experience in Shanghai"

    5.0
    • 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.

    Continue reading

    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.

  9. "Great Company. Good opportunities to develop your career. Meet people from around the world."

    5.0
    • 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.

    Continue reading

    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.

  10. "pros and cons of working at EF"

    4.0
    • 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

    Continue reading
Found 110 reviews