EnglishTown Reviews

Updated August 24, 2014
Updated August 24, 2014
29 Reviews

2.0
29 Reviews
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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Flexible work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Online English Teacher
    Former Employee - Online English Teacher

    I worked at EnglishTown as a contractor

    Pros

    flexible schedule, nice students, easy lessons, no prep time involved

    Cons

    low pay, no opportunities for raises

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Good for something to do in your spare time, but find a real job elsewhere if that's what you're looking for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Online English Teacher  in  Cambridge, MA
    Current Employee - Online English Teacher in Cambridge, MA

    I have been working at EnglishTown part-time for less than a year

    Pros

    --You're able to work as many or as little hours whenever and wherever you want in the world
    --You have the opportunity to speak with students around the world

    Cons

    --Low pay for what you're doing
    --You get the same pay for teaching Group Lessons as you would teaching Private Lessons, Business English or TOEIC classes, all of which require much more preparation. Englishtown will be assigning these classes soon automatically, for which there is no real incentive to teach.
    --Training past your initial training is extensive and unpaid
    --If you're having technical issues and cannot access a class, you will be fighting an uphill battle to get paid, even if it is Englishtown's problem
    --The student's word is worth more than a teacher's, and management does not care about what the teacher has to say.
    --Even though some students do not belong in their respective language levels, simply providing feedback of "advance/demote" is not tolerated.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Give more incentives to do a better job. Implement new solutions based off of teacher's feedback. Increase pay for non-GLs where we have to put in more prep time past the hour you are paying us for. Stop threatening teachers for simple mistakes that occur in non-telecommuting positions. Place students in the appropriate levels so we can give proper feedback.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  3.  

    Highly Illegal Application Questions Used

    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Ec98bb25@opayq.com  in  New York, NY
    Current Employee - Ec98bb25@opayq.com in New York, NY

    I have been working at EnglishTown

    Pros

    I refused to answer the illegal questions on their online form.

    Cons

    The application form that Englishtown uses online has questions that violate U.S. employment law - although they are recruiting from here. First, they ask your age. And the year drop-down only goes to 1950. It is illegal to ask someone their age when it has no bearing on the job tasks and responsibilities. In addition, they want to know gender. Also, has no bearing on a person's ability to do a job.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    If you are going to recruit and make money off of U.S.-based English speakers, then start respecting the law. You lost an excellent and experienced teacher because I refused to answer questions you had absolutely NO RIGHT to be asking in the first place!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Horrible atmosphere

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

    I worked at EnglishTown as a contractor

    Pros

    Usually there are classes everyday to claim, except in summer.

    Cons

    Teachers are treated terribly with fines for no good reason, threatening emails, mixed and confusing company policies. Management are indifferent to any teachers concerns which are quite frankly ignored or swept under the carpet.

    There is no chance of promotion or career development. The pay for what they expect is bad. The support staff for the teachers only purpose seems to be to send out threatening emails about bad performace or anything else that's deemed to be reported.

    Teachers are expected to maintain an average of 4.7 each month out of 5. Get one 3 or lower in a month means your average gets ruined and you get fined regardless of the reason.
    Avoid like the plague.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Try checking on the hub, but oh wait, only negative and bitter teachers post there right?

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  6.  

    Too much inertia

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

    I worked at EnglishTown full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I really enjoyed my colleagues, and some of them were truly exceptional. But the salary was sub-par, benefits were minimal, work-life balance was atrocious, and leadership left much to be desired. The product offerings are very well-designed from a graphical and audiovisual perspective.

    Cons

    Too much responsibility is concentrated in the hands of too few managers, some of them who simply do not take the time to become familiar with the technology they are trying to work with. Bullying is tolerated, including some very profoundly unprofessional interpersonal behaviors which everyone simply tries to repress and ignore.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Pay close attention to how many employees your key people in middle management have reporting to them, and ask whether there is some way to keep them from being spread too thin.

    Doesn't Recommend
  7. 2 people found this helpful  

    Very difficult company to work for. I had to quit, as many are now doing.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Online English Teacher
    Former Employee - Online English Teacher

    I worked at EnglishTown part-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    Somewhat flexible schedule. The other 'pros' no longer exist.

    Cons

    Recent increase in work load (this includes writing corrections which teachers used to get paid for if they chose to do so as extra work). If not performed, pay will be taken away - from 30% to 100%.
    Video is now a requirement for private lessons. Not worth the low pay.

    READ THE CONTRACT VERY CAREFULLY! You will notice all your rights as a 'contractor' are made obsolete. You will be treated as a laborer but without any of the benefits. The contract's wording is very vague, allowing them to freely increase workload, take away pay etc. when they choose to do so. For example, if you teach your class, but do not submit your report within a certain period, you can receive up to a 100% pay penalty. In fact, on certain occasions, they can actually choose to 'fine' you. That means not only forfeiting your pay, but also providing them compensation out of your own pocket.

    The reports for each student is incredibly lengthy. They have many, many requirements that must be met. If reviewed by the company and not up to 'standard', then unpaid retraining regarding reports may be required.
    Englishtown does not care about the student.. Recently they have been signing up anyone and everyone they can. This now includes students with a zero level of English, despite the fact that students were required to have at least a certain level of English in order to understand the teacher and/or the lesson plans. This means frustrated students with unrealistic expectations.

    Sound issues are horrendous with the platform they use. And yet Englishtown does not allow Skype to be used unless the student directly asks for it (many of which are not aware of this option and teachers are not allowed to volunteer this option either). This may even mean the student forfeiting their lesson. The technical support is of very poor quality. Students who inquire the company for technical support often go months with unresolved technical issues and eventually give up. You will see many students that have a long history of "student no shows". Each class is paid for by the student but they are not able to participate. The majority could have been taught on Skype with minimal issues, but again, this is not an option students are to be made aware of.

    Every time the company expands, they figure out a way to a) Increase the workload of teachers to increase revenue and/or b) Decrease pay to increase revenue.

    The teacher is just a number. Don't expect to be treated like a valuable addition to the company.

    The more years you spend with them, the more likely your pay will decrease and/or your work load will increase. You will not experience any sense of loyalty on the part of the company.

    Many teachers are now leaving the company due to the many negative changes. This used to be a great and fun company to work for. But things changed. They no longer care about the student. They no longer care about the teachers. They don't even seem to believe in what they do anymore. It's all about the dollar; squeezing every penny they can get out of their students and teachers.

    Expect a lot of pressure. They try to lecture their teachers through their mass emails that this is a "career" despite the fact that you signed away your rights, there is no room for growth and no chance for a salary increase.

    Do not waste your time with this company. It is not worth the low pay and high stress.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You are on the way out. There are wonderful fast growing companies who treat their teachers with respect and genuinely care about providing excellent service to their students. Students are leaving you. Teachers are leaving you. They are finding these companies that are loyal, offer true flexibility and increase in pay to long term teachers. These companies understand that the teachers are valuable and the face of their company. Also, they are honest with the students. These students are happy with the progress they make because they haven't been promised fluency in record time. They haven't been told lies just so they will sign up with the company. These companies are building a solid foundation of happy teachers and happy students. They understand where their true success will come from. Very soon you won't have a company left. And good riddance.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    lots of work, little pay

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

    I have been working at EnglishTown full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    The students are interesting, the hours are flexible

    Cons

    *Very little pay (compared to other companies that do the same thing and considering that a lot of the EF branches insist employees have a degree)
    *Policies change with little warning (which may include employees doing more work but for the same pay)
    *Salary incentives depend on grading done by students (often influenced by technical problems or poor lesson material provided by EF)
    *Lesson material is not updated (students get annoyed doing the same topics repeatedly)
    *Employees are not paid for extra work (if a student requests a custom topic teachers have to make a lesson plan in their own time with no extra compensation).
    *EF technical problems (at times the EF servers go down which means classes can not be taught)
    *Insufficient training (training focuses more of EF policies than useful teaching tips or classroom management)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    *Increase wages
    *Review grading system or give teachers a platform to dispute bad gradings
    *Update lesson material
    *Pay extra for "custom topics"
    *Improve WANI tools

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
  9. 4 people found this helpful  

    9 years. Worse every year.

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

    I have been working at EnglishTown as a contractor for more than 8 years

    Pros

    Flexible schedules, usually there is cash flow, online work which can be rare, can work in your underwear in the middle of the night if you so desire. Flexible. Flexible.

    Cons

    No raises since 2006-7, paying new employees more that senior employees; no acknowledgement for seniority or time served; often arrogant/ mean spirited supervisors; supervisors often absent o unavailable when system goes down; two-tiers system of haves (management who take retreats in Korea and Thailand) and have nots; silly condescending emails and complaints, no training or promotion program.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    1.Treat your employees with respect.
    2. If people work for you for 10 years, acknowledge the effort and time they have put in.
    3. If you have not given raises in 5 or 6 years to people, raises might be in order.
    4. Eliminating the Ros factor would go a long way to helping pave the way for better moral
    5. Make sure supervisors are online when disaster strikes. Frequently they are not and online teachers are left holding the bag.
    6. Don't publish photos your international managerial galas in Korea and Thailand on Facebook, when your long term staff have not seen raises since Bush was president. It sort of rubs managerial wealth in the nose of online teacher poverty.
    7. Honestly ask for and incorporate the view of stakeholders in managerial decisions.
    8. Read books on and consider the stakeholder view of the firm.
    9 Ask yourself why turnover rates are so high, and consider that it might be cheaper to hold employees longer and spend less on recruitment.
    10. Hold an employee meeting. I do not recall an employee meeting for going on 5 years.
    11. Don't penalize dissent. Maybe some of the people who complain are trying to be constructive.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    EF Online is still the best, despite all

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Online English Teacher  in  Global Village (India)
    Current Employee - Online English Teacher in Global Village (India)

    I have been working at EnglishTown as a contractor for more than 8 years

    Pros

    A place to meet the world without travelling - lovely students! It's not easy, but its rewarding
    Teachers from countries where the relationship between Contractor and Company is common, and who realise that a contractor offers a service, will be very happy because the systems, though annoying, mostly do work.
    There are many classes available for teachers who have flexibility and are able to manage their availability and time responsibly; Payment arrives when due, and the Academic Support Operations Teams (ASOT) are always very helpful to teachers who treat them with courtesy and respect; Though different time zones cause delays, a caring Support Team is available to respond to queries, and this group is increasing in in size, so response times are quicker. I am a responsible, accountable teacher, and I deliver my services without needing baby-sitting....and that's why I love my work.

    Cons

    Low compensation, and no differentiation of rates between new and old EF Online teachers ; No perks or annual increases, as all running costs are for the teacher's account; Uncaring teachers , who have no interest in anything but making a quick few dollars , make it necessary to have a penalty system, and drag colleagues down with them; Multiple platforms for teaching, reporting, and training are confusing at first. Pictures on the internet showing Head Office staff in exotic locations, make us feel under-valued, even if we are Contractors. But the cons aren't enough to chase me away - it's always my choice to stay, or go. I choose to stay

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Realise that there are teachers that do this for a quick buck and don't care about following necessary procedures, and there are those who have a passion for teaching. At least, reward those who deserve it by giving the annual increase which existed before the financial crisis of 2008-2009; Work towards a simpler system that is easier to use, as not every good teacher has vast technical knowledge. A company as big as EF Online is now, needs a Call Center manned by proper English speakers who have a knowledge of the classroom - teachers could be used very successfully, if renumerated accordingly. Senior Management doesn't realize that Teachers are the Face of EF Online and that happy teachers lead to happy students. Lower level Management is working hard but has limited influence in decision-making in their fields of expertise. The company is forging ahead - but please don't forget the people who are facilitating this.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    Working for EF is stressful and exhausting.

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

    I have been working at EnglishTown full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    Get to meet people from all over the world.

    Cons

    -pay dependent on students survey (often influenced by technical problems).
    - no pay raises
    -duties change with very short notice
    - employees are not recognized
    - no benefits

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Recognize employees (importance)
    Work on customer care -angry customers is just as bad for teacher's as it is for you.
    Re-evaluate SE surveys as students still refer to technical problems in the teacher comments.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

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