EF English First Reviews

Updated August 28, 2014
Updated August 28, 2014
46 Reviews

3.7
46 Reviews
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Jacob Toren
13 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A good entry into TESOL teaching but it's no holiday job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - International Teacher  in  Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - International Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)

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

    Pros

    From my experience the whole beginning process from application to the first day of work was professional and painless. (Having said that I know it's not been the case for everyone especially where visas are concerned)
    The pay is okay, the students are great and also willing to help you. If you want to take the initiative there's opportunity for professional development. EF is a Trinity Dip TESOL course provider and they also run various distance learning courses throughout the year.
    The teaching material works on a cycle so it's easy to get used to and the adapt as the cycle repeats. There's scope to be a little creative with that, and also other types of classes that have no fixed lesson plan for you to follow.
    Working with Chinese teachers is a definite advantage and management in my city seem to listen to staff.

    Cons

    From my perspective the hours suck and everyday I go home drained. That days are too long as you're expected to be in the office for 9 hours (including lunch) especially taking into consideration that it's also a late working day finishing at 9:30pm on weekdays. There can be some flexibility depending on your centre but smaller centres get hit hard as there aren't enough teachers. Being on the opposite schedule to everyone else in the world means you'll probably only end up socialising with other teachers if you hadn't made friends in China before and learning anything but survival Chinese is but a pipe dream for those who hadn't studied before.
    You're likely to come up against the usual gripes for working for a large company and maybe some additional ones because of cultural differences but these are largely manageable.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    35 hour working week please. And if visa laws won't allow that seriously consider going back to fewer contact teaching hours. 4 classes a day seems a happy medium. It's a large factor in why many international teachers who still want to stay in China leave to start working for schools with much better working hours, holidays and work-life-balance

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Great colleagues and brand new center

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Online Teacher  in  Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Current Employee - Online Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)

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

    Pros

    I was placed at the online school in Shanghai and am having a great experience. The group is tight knit and a mix of foreign and local teachers and many have been at the center since it first opened. Our boss also looks out for us and is easy to approach if we need help. I've enrolled in a few of the free teacher training classes offered by headquarters, which is pretty cool because I'm planning to apply for the senior teacher position. The center itself is pretty cool. It's been recently renovated, and I have my own desk, brand new computer, and bouncy ball chair. We're also nearby Lujiazui, which is great for grabbing a few drinks or dinner after work.

    Cons

    The location can be a bit out of the way if you live across the city or off the wrong lines. Living by the closest metro lines will cut down the commute a ton. Sometimes there are technical problems with the teaching platform or the internet in China can lag. There needs to be a bigger IT team to help troubleshoot these problems during our teaching hours. There are also very limited lunch options around the area so lot of us bring our lunches, order Sherpas, or just go to the convenience shop downstairs.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They should have a grading metric system given to the teachers when we start so we can meet the quality requirements from ASOT. Center training is helpful, but the online Mindflash training has technical quirks and could be improved. In addition, the lesson content needs to vary more because our long-term students get tired of certain lessons rotated every few weeks.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  3.  

    Great benefits and a great experience teaching in China

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - International Teacher  in  Beijing, Beijing (China)
    Former Employee - International Teacher in Beijing, Beijing (China)

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

    Pros

    - You get to meet people from all over the world.
     - You get looked after when you arrive, and supported while you're learning the ropes
     - Good mix of new and experienced teachers in the staffroom
     - Good insurance, with no problems claiming if you have an accident (you get really well looked after and supported!)

    Cons

    - It gets busy during the summer intensive period, but there's actually a huge party afterwards :-)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Generally good job, only a few minor quibbles - make sure your door stays open, even when you're busy.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Great adventure in China, teaching keen students

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - TEFL Teacher  in  Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Former Employee - TEFL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)

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

    Pros

    Great students - keen and interested to learn. Great camaraderie between teachers, and you make loads of new friends. The career development is good, if you want to stay in China.

    Cons

    The admin work surrounding the job can be a bit tiresome at times. The summer session is a little tough, as it's busier than usual (I worked at the kids and teens school).
    The turnover of teachers is quite high as contracts are only for a year and a lot of people want to explore different locations

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Make sure you listen to teachers!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6.  

    EF provides a great atmosphere and a valuable learning experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Changchun, Jilin (China)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Changchun, Jilin (China)

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

    Pros

    You get to work with interesting people from all over the English-speaking world. While there are high expectations from all sides for teaching quality, the working atmosphere is relaxed and open. While working at EF you get to experience and learn many new things, so it's definitely the sort of place to work at if you're looking to try something different and exciting.

    Cons

    If your experience as a new teacher is limited, you can get a lot of scrutiny from parents who were satisfied with the previous teacher, as well as pressure from management to do well--and this can be just a few weeks after arriving. Sometimes communication issues can arise between local and foreign staff, but usually not intentionally.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great first teaching job

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - EFL Teacher  in  Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Current Employee - EFL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)

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

    Pros

    When you first start, there is lots of support given to help you settle in. It can be quite confusing moving to China when you don't speak the language, but you're given tons of help which makes it a breeze - from sorting out visas before you arrive to giving you a welcome pack with a phone, maps, and help to find an apartment, it was thought through thoroughly

    As you got ore comfortable in the job itself, there are lots of opportunities to take on extra responsibility if you show that you're willing. Things like mentoring new staff, becoming a trainer, or moving up the promotional ladder via becoming a Senior Teacher or then Director of Studies (and maybe a regional manager after that).

    The good thing about career development is that because most contracts in the TEFL industry are for one year, there are positions open up faster than in more traditional industries.

    Cons

    The company definitely expects you to do a full job. I've seen several new teachers start that thought they were going to get an easy job as they were outside their home country, but that's not the case. If you treat it like any other job, you'll be fine.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay attention to your star performers and try not to overload your most competent staff. Also better scheduling during summer and winter intensive periods makes sense and wouldn't be hard to implement.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    Excellent support and training, hard work, but very rewarding

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - TEFL Teacher  in  Guangzhou, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - TEFL Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong (China)

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

    Pros

    You get great satisfaction from seeing your students progress, and you do have a lot of freedom to plan your lessons the way you want to (unlike in the state school system back home!). There's also less admin work than a teaching job back home, too.

    It is a full-time job, there's no getting away from it, but as long as you're prepared to work hard you'll get on well. Not to mention that in your free time you're in China!

    Cons

    Sometimes people can be promoted before they're ready. There is a high turnover of staff, but that could be because it's living abroad, not necessarily a reflection on the company.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay more attention to suggestions from the teachers at the grassroots level - we've got some good ideas too!

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Good for the Adventurous

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - English Teacher  in  Chongqing, Chongqing (China)
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Chongqing, Chongqing (China)

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

    Pros

    The pay is good in comparison with other companies. Great opportunity to travel and meet new people in a completely different culture. The mission and values of the company are fantastic and it has tremendous growth potential. Coworkers, both expats and locals, are a lot of fun to work with.

    Cons

    Management is questionable, communication can be a major issue between divisions. Certain experiences can be stressful but that should be expected within the field.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Work on communication between company divisions. Increase promotion and awareness of positions company wide for current highly achieving employees.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    A great environment to hone your teaching skiils

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher  in  Xi'an, Shaanxi (China)
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Xi'an, Shaanxi (China)

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

    Pros

    English First is a great place for teachers that want to teach English in China and have access to the latest technology as well as a wide library of resources. Academic quality actually matters at EF, and you will be expected to really teach your students. There are a variety of advancement and development opportunities for teachers that wish to stay develop their teaching skills. Working hours and pay are consistent and working visa is provided which gives you peace of mind while you 're in China.

    Cons

    EF is a busy job and people just looking for a 'job' as a way to be in China and do as little work as possible should probably look elsewhere.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    All style, no substance. Staff treated like slaves.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Contract Teacher  in  Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Former Employee - Contract Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)

    I worked at EF English First as a contractor for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Flexible work, can work from home. In theory you could work unlimited hours.

    Cons

    - The company has a terrible attitude towards its staff and treats them like slaves. Any ideas, complains, grievances are just ignored. The attitude of the management towards its staff is the worst I have ever experienced (even after 10 years of working in this industry). Often emails are sent out with a very threatening tone with the subtly of a brick over the head.
    - New policies means you end up working for nothing. As of May 2014 you won't get paid for any private class when the student doesn't show up unless you complete a certain quantity of written corrections as well. These corrections are very difficult to complete withing the same PL time. If you don't complete them, you lose the 20 minutes of setting up the class and waiting for the student. Many teachers have lost up to 40 hours a month that won't be paid. EF still charges the student.
    - The company will fine you for anything it deems inappropriate, if you are late, if the students give bad feedback, if you don't fill out the feedback form in time or to a certain standard etc.
    - Most group lessons are riddled with connection issues on EF's side. The teacher gets the blame meaning more fines
    - The company is forever updating its confusing policies, meaning you have spend hours of unpaid time watching muddled videos of what the company expects from you.
    - Your pay at the end of the month is often incorrect, but since they don't provide you with a pay slip you have no idea what is missing. Reports about this on the hub are usually ignored.
    - The "quality" of the slides leaves very much to be desired, with typos, spelling mistakes and generally badly thought out lessons. If the student complains, the teacher will get fined.
    - Poor pay even before fines
    - Zero career opportunities

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Your glossy brochures of classrooms and materials do little to disguise the very poor quality of service you provide your students and the abysmal way you treat your teachers once you actually work there. Recent complaints by new and old teachers alike about the new draconian policy of not paying for student no shows (SNS) clearly shows you have no interest in anything other than short term profit margins.

    Doesn't Recommend

    EF English First Response

    Aug 7, 2014Marketing Supervisor

    We are very sorry to hear that you have had so many issues. From reading your review it sounds like you are one of our freelance online teachers. At EF Education First we do, as a company try to ... More

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