ELS Language Centers

  www.els.edu
  www.els.edu

ELS Language Centers Reviews

Updated December 16, 2014
Updated December 16, 2014
73 Reviews
2.1
73 Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros
  • You get one month of paid vacation and health benefits, and 10 sick days (in 9 reviews)

  • You get to teach students from around the world who are mostly intelligent and motivated (in 5 reviews)


Cons
  • Stress- we are sometimes expected to do an impossible amount of work in a very short time (in 6 reviews)

  • Administrative staff are asked to wear many hats and are constantly swamped with work for low pay (in 6 reviews)

More Highlights

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A chance to grow and develop

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Instructor in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Instructor in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    I have worked at other language schools and can say this is one of the more professional institutions out there. Great benefits and perhaps not the highest pay, but fair enough. It is very academically based and has the goal of preparing students for university. Professional Development workshops occur monthly. Staff are encouraged to submit proposals to conferences and expenses covered if proposals are accepted. Yearly, teachers have the chance to win an excellence in teaching award through the company. Teachers also play an important role in various committees. Management at my center genuinely care about instructors and a respectful relationship exists. The company also offers opportunities to obtain a CELTA and MA ( contrary to another review- the AD doesn't get a "kickback" for encouraging instructors to participate in either program).

    Cons

    The 4 week schedule brings intensive to a whole new level. It is a lot to cover. A lot is expected of both instructional staff and the administration within a short timespan, which leads to a lot of stress and pressure.
    Management should be paid higher ( having been in that position as well).

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Provide an additional day after orientation day for teachers and staff to prep for classes and make it a 5 or 6 week cycle. This would allieviate some of the stress and make for a better educational experience for all. Offer higher compensation for supervisors.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    New but have to agree with these reviews so far.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Thousand Oaks, CA
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Thousand Oaks, CA

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers part-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Vacation, nice hours, preplanned curriculum, and they seem genuine about academic honesty and teaching students English. The quality of the teachers seems very high. They are all professional and committed, from what I've seen so far. They are also very helpful. I was surprised to read that prep time was not paid, since prep time is accounted for. It might not be adequate, but the pay overall is pretty low, and the prep time pay does help.

    Cons

    Pay is not that great and the training is pretty cursory. I'm new so I can't comment on much else. Maybe I'll update later. I was really impressed with these guys at first. But quickly I realized how overworked the ADs are. They don't have time to really train teachers. I was thrown into a class with books after watching some videos. Since I've taught this material before in other settings, I was able to keep up, but I don't know how a new teacher would do it. Also there were inconsistencies between the manual and what teachers were actually doing, and I heard different stories about instructions from different people. I basically would sit in the lounge and find teachers to pester with questions, and that helped a lot. I was able to struggle through my first weeks by doing that. Any new job is tough, and I think I got hired at a weird time so I didn't get to really observe classes and review a lot of material before just jumping into class. So my situation may have been atypical. But I can see that in this type of situation, turnover would probably be high.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Train teachers before putting them in classrooms. Watching videos is not training.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  3.  

    I have a lot of teaching experience, both in the US and abroad, and this is the worst teaching job I have ever had!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers

    Pros

    international students are interesting to get to know

    Cons

    No consistent hours. Low hourly pay. "Full time" is only 30 hours per week. Teachers are not paid for prep time or reviewing and grading work. You can work "full time" one month and 0 to 10 hours the next. Center management is incompetent and there is very high teacher turnover. Practices and procedures are constantly changing, with no real explanation. Technology is terrible. In the LTC (Learning Technology Center) the PCs don't even have Word, Excel or PowerPoint! The programs for student practice are outdated and inconsistent.. Teacher support, in any positive sense, is nonexistent. Admin has no time to work with teachers. A lot of energy goes into planning "fun" activities for students. This is not a cruise and surely students can find interesting and enjoyable things to do on their own.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Rep[lace yourselves with competent people who understand education and teaching and actually have some experience in doing what they expect Center employees to do.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 3 people found this helpful  

    Associate Instructor

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Associate Instructor in Columbus, OH
    Current Employee - Associate Instructor in Columbus, OH

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    They have good healthcare (you only get after 500 teaching hours or 6 months full time work)

    Cons

    Very very stressful environment. Doesn't allow for the proper amount of time for students to learn and absorb the knowledge. It's all about the money more so than the education.

    Corporate lies.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    They work hard, but they aren't looking around at a ground level. Perks for the job just went down the tube too, thanks ELS, you suck.

    Doesn't Recommend
  6. 3 people found this helpful  

    ELS Language Centers

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Houston, TX
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher in Houston, TX

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers part-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Light Schedule and friendly coworkers

    Cons

    Low pay / part time hours, 30 hrs per week, admin too busy to be available to teachers

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    higher pay, more respect for employees

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good benefits and people but tough schedule

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Academic Director
    Former Employee - Academic Director

    I worked at ELS Language Centers full-time

    Pros

    Most of the people are genuinely interested in helping ESL students learn and improve their English skills. Individuals who work at HQ are often supportive and communicative with some projects, though it's not consistent. The benefits were also fantastic compared to other academic companies.

    Cons

    Most full-time positions at centers are hectic because of the 4-week class schedule and the expectations that come from that can be overwhelming. If you are not working at HQ and are at the center-level, it is difficult to fight the constant expectation that you are always available for others' emergencies and are likely the only one at your center who can handle your duties (so vacation can be difficult to take if your center is small). Depending on the population of students at the center, the cultural issues can become very frustrating with students and husbands of students coming in to try to convince you that you are cheating them and why they should pass despite failing the curriculum, which can be very difficult for some students.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Better training for ADs and CDs about managing staff communication and morale. Also keep up communication with centers. It doesn't help to be told one thing and learn it is completely different a month after your center has changed.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8.  

    It is all in your perspective and approach

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Instructor
    Current Employee - Instructor

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Students from around the world
    Solid curriculum with multiple ways of enhancing instruction
    Excellent medical and health benefits
    Tuition reimbursement for many levels of education; opportunity to earn CELTA certificate for free after 1 year of employment;
    Willing to hire folks who have taught overseas but may not have an MA or Certificate in TESOL

    Cons

    The size of the organization does make communication difficult and the fact that centers are located all over the US (and world) means there is the possibility of managers "doing their own thing."
    As a global company there are various regulations and procedures that may not make sense to you in the local center; this can cause frustration but is not unusual for companies of this size.
    This is not a public college or university so salaries may not compare. ELS pays close to its competitors but less than a community college ESL faculty.
    4-week sessions are tough but manageable. At my center we teach the same level for several sessions in a row so our prep time is reduced and we get to know the material well.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Find a better way to share the success of the organization with the local centers and teams. Continue with the developing opportunities to engage instructors and staff with projects that benefit everyone. Develop better and more efficient ways to do grade-reports and transcripts.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 5 people found this helpful  

    Greedy company with no appreciation of employees

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Instructor
    Current Employee - Instructor

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Pros: great benefits.
    Medical
    401k
    Paid vacation
    10 sick days

    Pros: great coworkers and amazing students. We make a difference and help to foster a welcoming environment for language learners.
    Pros: Pay every two weeks.
    Pros: Great compensation for professional development. They will pay for conference registration, membership, travel, hotels, airfare, and food. You also get a stipend for presenting.

    Cons

    Cons: Instructors are grossly underpaid for the 40 hr/ week. The hourly wages do not take grading and preparation into consideration.
    Overtime is not permitted, even though everyone does it. Teachers are often accepted to come in before their scheduled time, but are not compensated for that time.
    Cons: Extremely high turnover rate. Teachers are very dissatisfied and are not appreciated by corporate.
    Cons: no communication between teachers and corporate.
    Cons: Our evaluations are based on student surveys. Many beginning learners do not have access to the surveys in English, but these survey results affect our pay, hours, and rank in the company.
    Cons: Company is stingy - it is very difficult to get needed resources for the office and for teachers.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  10. 4 people found this helpful  

    Education Last at ELS.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Teacher in San Francisco, CA
    Former Employee - Teacher in San Francisco, CA

    I worked at ELS Language Centers full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    The students and other teachers were typical of other ESL schools: interesting, from diverse backgrounds, helpful, and generally easy to get along with.

    Cons

    There are a lot of unspoken rules for grading students depending on where they are from, and management will quietly pass a failing student behind his teachers' backs, which results in many classes of mixed-level students all trying to master the same material. Teachers must compromise their instruction to accommodate misplaced students, and at-level students are frustrated by the lack of challenge. At the center where I worked for several years, students were well-aware that grading standards were different for Saudis, for example, than they were for Chinese students.
    All of this seems to point to a lack of concern for education on the part of management. Recently, there has been an increased focus on each center's ranking compared with other locations, and since ELS is primarily a business, profits are what really matter in the end.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Don't expect to come in and "wing it" if you want to gain the respect and trust of your teachers. The academic director at the center where I worked does not seem to have a background in education (or even much facility with the English language judging from the embarrassing grammatical errors in his introduction on the website). The management in general could benefit by reading up on current teaching methods and brushing up on their own English skills. As it is now, they are woefully ill-equipped to offer constructive criticism or suggestions on how to improve instruction. It is supposed to be a school, after all.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  11. 5 people found this helpful  

    One star is too many

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - International Student Advisor
    Current Employee - International Student Advisor

    I have been working at ELS Language Centers full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Meet people from around the world, nice benefits, long term coworkers are supportive since they understand how to survive in this company.

    Cons

    My experiences are coming from working at one of the larger centers, smaller centers may have different experiences.

    Where to begin? Four week sessions create a stressful environment where everyone, admin and teachers both, are forced to rush to try and get all their work done. The amount of work, while it looks small on paper, is unrealistic for the given time period, especially for the bigger centers where constant interruptions by students and the incompetent center director force you to stop any progress you may have made. You leave at the end of the work day with nothing accomplished. If there is any personal growth it comes in the form of knowing that ELS is a place where one does not want to work. The pay does not correspond to the amount of the work one has in order to get all the work done, one has to fully dedicate their life to the company. That may work for some people but I am not willing to donate my whole days, nights, and many weekends to people who pay me for working 80 hours a week. Princeton Headquarters is out of touch with the centers and I get conflicting reports from our center director and people working at phq. Turnover rate is high but that is because of the reasons I have stated.

    ELS language centers are awful places to work and to study english. I do not recommend to anyone.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Hire experienced center directors who actually know what to do and can provide timely answers to questions new staff has.

    Eliminate this four week session structure, no matter how many ways you try to spin it there are still 12 months in a year NOT 13 or 14.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

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