EF English First International Teacher Reviews | Glassdoor

EF English First International Teacher Reviews

Updated Oct 8, 2019

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3.2
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74%
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54%
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EF English First CEO 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
8 Ratings
  1. "Massive disconnect between management and staff."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International English Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Set Schedule Limited Hours Career Progression Lateral Movement Diverse Work Force

    Cons

    Disconnected Management Corporate structure is flawed

    Advice to Management

    Standardize the working life between teachers at all centers. Centers are completely disconnected from each other and if you get one that doesn't care about your work life, prepare to be doing lots of extra things on the side in your own time, with no extra compensation.

    EF English First2019-10-09
  2. "Overview of being an international teacher at EF"

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

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

    Pros

    - VISA process is super easy, to a point that all you need to do is provide what they need and it will be done for you - opportunity to learn the local language - career mobility within the company - initial teaching certificate provided and then if you want to advance, you will have a 50% off in the more advanced certificates - lots opportunities to travel - great healthcare and employee benefits and perks -... very supportive recruiting team to help before your arrival

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    Cons

    - salary is not the best - work hours can be long if you work at kids school (not teens school, and not sure about adults and online) - not being able to have saturday and sunday off, but instead you get two days during the week off

    EF English First2019-05-28

    EF English First Response

    June 3, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for sharing about your experience at EF. We are thrilled to hear about your positive experience relocating to China and that you've felt supported through the certifications, training programs and benefits provided. We take pride in this and ensure teachers receive ongoing development and opportunities for career growth. We know that teachers work very hard at EF and we value everything they do. We understand not having Saturday and Sunday off work can be unconventional for some, however, weekends are our peak hours due to the nature of our business. We do make sure everyone gets two days during the week as you've highlighted in your post.

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  3. Helpful (2)

    "Some good people but the company SUCKS!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - International Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    There are some really nice and capable people. A lot of lesson support with handout materials. Good on the "front-end" and getting people in, but ...

    Cons

    Really bad on the back end ... providing follow-up and help. You can be fired at the drop of a hat and abandoned in China. Teachers don't really teach, they're more like slide-show projectionists. And you are not permitted to go beyond the 3 to 5 word new vocabulary for each class ... even if the students are advanced and already know the words. Teacher turn-over is about like an American McDonalds ... I went by... my old center about a year after I left and there was about 90% new teachers.

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    Advice to Management

    You need to back-up and support your teachers instead of firing them on the spot for things like teaching too many words. This school does really SUCK!

    EF English First2019-04-06

    EF English First Response

    April 14, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for sharing this feedback on your experience teaching with us in Beijing. It's great that you got along well with your coworkers and felt supported by the materials provided. However, it's disapointing to hear that you felt unsupported during your time with us. We value teachers' hard work and committment to their students, and we want our teachers to grow, develop their skills and stay with us. We encourage all teachers who have felt they've been treated unfairly to send an email to compliance.china@ef.com so we can follow up and address the issue accordingly. Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.

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  4. "My review"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - International Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Meeting local and international teachers. Weekends or different from regular weekends.

    Cons

    Last minute changes to productions. Had to cover classes without knowing 10 minutes beforehand. A lot of favoritism towards white people (especially male). Not a fair playing field. Sometimes the classes are not equally split, so I personally felt overwork.

    Advice to Management

    Better communications. Better cover schedule.

    EF English First2019-02-19

    EF English First Response

    March 24, 2019Vice President

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We're so glad you enjoyed the international experience of working with people from all over the world. That's one of the things we love about working in the ESL industry abroad, where we have the opportunity to bridge the gap between countries and cultures through language. We're sorry that you experienced a last-minute production swap, it's not always easy to adapt at the last minute when things change and are out of our control, but we truly appreciate you stepping in to assist your team members. We hope this was only a one-time incident. We are very concerned by your allegations regarding the unfair schedule split, this is not in line with our employment practices, as we aim to create a fair and equal working environment for all of our employees. Please contact us at compliance.china@ef.com so that we can conduct a fair and thorough investigation. And again thank you for reaching out.

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  5. Helpful (19)

    "Nightmare of a job. Incompetent company full of lies, coercion and illegal activity."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - International Teacher in Guangzhou, Guangdong
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Amazing students Everyone gets a job regardless of ability. Visa obtained easily if you are outside of the country

    Cons

    EF's recruitment and retention strategy for foreign employees is essentially a human trafficking scheme with a friendly face that avoids anything overtly illegal. The experience at EF fits in the United Nations definition for human trafficking as people are recruited through deception and once in the position of vulnerability in a foreign country are maintained through coercion and abuse of power. Despite... exploitation, consent to remain at the job is achieved through direct and indirect threats and deception with the knowledge that the foreign employee is unfamiliar with the local legal system and would not be able to seek help from authorities. Additionally, while foreign employees are free to leave the job anytime, they are deceived into believing that this would likely result in having to permanently leave the country that they have committed to living in. An option that for many is not feasible. The lies start with the recruiters who will give a job offer to anyone meeting the minimum government requirements for the visa, and make whatever promises needed for the employee to sign the contract. Everything seems professional, friendly and polished up until the moment the employees arrive in the country. At that point, the lies, mismanagement and incompetence start to be revealed. Within a day upon arrival, the employees are rounded up and given massive byzantine contracts to sign while still disorientated and jet lagged. Confusion and questions about promises and realities are either dismissed as recent changes in national law or company policy or just ignored. The company commits a great deal of effort to polishing its reputation to recruit new employees but once they begin working it seems everything possible is done to drive them away and ensure a miserable life on the job. Once the employee begins work at their assigned training centre, the situation on the job never ceases to seek new lows. Unbelievable incompetence is widespread among the management and staff. Rules and policies are made up on the spot by the administration, so the situation at each school location varies wildly. Despite the vast differences in working conditions at each centre, the policies are always claimed to be due to national employment law or corporate policy. The working schedule is with work on nights and weekends on top of long hours preventing any healthy work-life balance or slightest pretence of a life outside of work. Employees are required to work 9 to 10 hours a day and sometimes six days a week. In my case sometimes I worked 45 to 50 hours a week, and the overtime work beyond the 40 hours a week agreed in the contract was completely unpaid. When this issue was brought up, it was framed as a problem with the employee being unable to complete their required tasks rather than a management issue. Scheduled daily tasks include so much busy work and embarrassing drudgery that there was little time left for the actual job: preparing for and teaching classes. The company puts a tremendous effort into making the learning centres appear visually clean and impressive, but the actual conditions of the facilities are deplorable. Rats, roaches, mould, shoddy construction, and safety hazards abound. Some centres in first-tier cities don't even have proper restrooms with modern toilets. Even air conditioning was inadequate, and at one centre I worked at the a/c was turned off in the peak of summer heat during the busiest times of day assumably to save money. The teachers then were forced to work in sweatshop conditions, crammed into tiny, hot, unventilated rooms with many students. The technology provided, specifically the computers were continually inoperable, and the IT staff tasked with maintaining and repairing this technology were utterly unable to ensure the most basic functionality. While employed at the company for less than one year, I either personally witnessed or was directly aware of incidences of physical assault, sexual harassment, workplace safety violations, employment law violations and other horrors. When any of these issues or complaints about the facilities or working conditions were brought to management attention, it only became another opportunity for management to engage in power play antics against the complaining employee and nothing satisfactory was ever done to address the issues. It's almost laughable that one can immediately observe that Orwellian concepts are baked into the EF corporate culture. “Doublethink” is widely practised with management and complacent staff commonly expressing beliefs that they know conflict with reality. Meanwhile, employees working in deplorable conditions are expected never to express the slightest dissatisfaction which would reveal them as non-compliant “thoughtcriminals.” EF encourages employees to use their personal social media account to post unpaid company advertisements and enforces this activity via peer pressure. Parties and events are listed as “benefits”, yet these are actually required work and another form of physical and psychological control over the staff. Activities at these events emanate a cult-like aura with employees forced to perform song and dance like clowns, and despite the bizarre nature of these activities, peer pressure ensures most people follow along. The foreign teachers are often paraded like circus animals as a form of humiliation and subjugation in the presence of hundreds of people. Employees who refuse to attend such events are punished by having pay withheld or annual leave days revoked. Annual leave, like the other benefits that look impressive on recruiting material, was a joke. Compared to other jobs in the industry which provide adequate time off, the 10 days a year promised can hardly appeal to the majority of the target demographic willing to relocate to the other side of the planet for a TEFL job. Even worse, most employees were only permitted to take time off in small fragments on days selected by the centre management, preventing even a trip back to their home country to see their family. Other benefits such as health insurance were equally useless and provided just for appearances and in reality not usable for either routine or significant medical issues. Lastly, the pay is far below the industry standards for the amount of work required especially since housing is not provided. The recruiters offer a false impression about the low cost of living to make the corresponding low pay seem tolerable when in reality most employees will need to pull money from saving for months to survive. An apartment agent is provided, but the agent and the owners of the flats are all in consortium with EF. The properties are rented out at prices sometimes double or triple the market rate, and the recruits are deceived into believing these are the cheapest and only apartments available in the city. With only a few days to decide they have little choice but to sign a rental contract subjugating them to a year of grossly overpaying for housing. Additionally, EF instructs the landlords to force the employees to pay rental tax, something that is strictly the landlord's responsibility. In summary, EF is infamous as being one of the worst large-scale employers in the TEFL industry in Asia. Nearly every aspect of the job experience is deplorable, and while many of these issues are well known in the company, no effort is made to improve them. It should be noted that while it is possible for people not to encounter or not be bothered by the experiences described above, and therefore have a positive experience, EF uses various methods to coerce or entice employees into leaving a positive review. During my time an email was sent out encouraging employees to leave a review on Glassdoor and send in a screenshot to receive a prize.

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    Advice to Management

    Don't bother responding to this review. I know you don't care about what employees think and don't actually want to follow-up about these issues. Everything was brought to your attention when I worked there and it was clear no one cared.

    EF English First2018-10-16

    EF English First Response

    November 4, 2018Vice President

    Due to the serious nature of your post, we request that you contact us at compliance.china@ef.com so that a fair and thorough investigation can take place. Your experience with EF does not reflect our core values and EF’s commitment to providing the best possible work environment for our employees. We are very concerned by your allegations and want to ensure they are addressed.

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  6. "Overall Work Experience at EF"

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

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 8 years

    Pros

    The work schedule works out perfectly for me. My weekends are on work days and a lot of places are not crowded. Also, I really enjoy teaching adults and seeing them progress in their English study. I have also met a lot of interesting students and teachers with a wide range of experiences.

    Cons

    Sometimes the students expect too much from you and seem to think that the courses are a magic pill. Like I mentioned above, I have stayed for a long time mostly because of the people (students and staff) and not really for the benefits and compensation.

    Advice to Management

    There should be more concrete recognition to the teachers as I have seen a lot of teachers become disappointed and leave the company.

    EF English First2018-05-14
  7. "The Right Direction"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    EF actively provides training opportunities and opportunities to earn teaching certifications.

    Cons

    The promotion stages/process are a bit prolonged.

    Advice to Management

    Make the effort to provide all centers with the same atmosphere and culture.

    EF English First2018-04-29
  8. Helpful (1)

    "Working with EF has been excellent!"

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

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

    Pros

    The teaching team and work environment are great! The students are very friendly and easy to work with! EF provides free monthly teachers events like going to great restaurants or playing laser tag with other teachers from the city. EF sponsors the Visa process and integrates new teachers very effectively into their respective schools. Overall, I have had a wonderful experience.

    Cons

    Like any big company, change can happen slowly. Promotional opportunities can take some time to happen.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work! If you have good, qualified people and opportunities for advancement, promote them quickly as opposed to waiting for them to (maybe) renew their contract.

    EF English First2018-03-28
  9. Helpful (6)

    "International Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - International Teacher in Beijing, Beijing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good stepping stone to make your way into working in china long term. Many opportunities to meet new teachers from your city as well as get in contact with teachers outside of your city. If you're interested in teaching long-term, there are opportunities for advancement such as long distance courses in grammar, lexis, lesson planning, coaching, and intro to management. There is also an opportunity to obtain the... Certtesol and Diptesol (very competitive course to get into especially beijing). Upon arrival, your visa and travel fees will be refunded, might take one or two months for you to receive the refund. You are also entitled to a 10,000 yuan bonus to help with apartment hunting. Over the course of 4 or 5 pay cycles they will deduct this from your pay check.

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    Cons

    Each experience is dependent on the environment of your center. For my center, we were quite small in size. There was no clear line of management so when we had an issue, no one knew how to properly handle the scenario. Accounts of racism would often occur that would be targeted towards the international teachers and management would sweep these cases under the rug. All teachers at our center were at maximum... teaching capacity, but marketing still opened up more classes. We would often not have a lunch break to properly eat and refuel. There was absolute zero time to properly lesson plan or grade tests. Most of the teachers would often be "winging it" in the classroom resulting in poor teacher-student learning quality. The company is also very strict regarding public holidays. You will not have regular national holidays off compared to other companies in China. You will have to work non-production days to catch up on administration tasks. These days are far and few between and makes it difficult to properly immerse yourself in the culture by celebrating holidays with the rest of the local community. Overall, you are worked hard and you will not see a reward for this (other than seeing the learning outcome of your students). The pay is not as substantial as to make up for what you are giving up. They do promise bonuses around the time of your 5 month appraisal, winter academy, and summer academy, but the company gets away with paying you less for the amount of work you put in.

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    Advice to Management

    Provide more support center by center. The center I worked at provide zero support for international staff and made our transition to a foreign country that much more terrifying.

    EF English First2018-04-30

    EF English First Response

    May 14, 2018Vice President

    Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your experience with us at EF English First. We are a professional company that does not tolerate racism, nor do we want to make you feel unsupported. Please send an email to teacher.feedback@ef.com so we can personally follow up.

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  10. "Building a family"

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

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

    Pros

    I have been working at EF for 6 months and I must say that so far I love it. Yes it has its ups and downs as any job has but I have never worked for a company that has put so much effort into bringing people together and trying to create something for everyone. Every month they have city wide teacher events and sometimes a trip to a near by city. Everyone here has been very helpful and willing to help me when... ever I needed it. I have also witness them go above and beyond to help fellow employees who were struggling. The biggest pro is the local staff. They are so hard working and have such a great attitude, it really makes coming to work everyday much easier.

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    Cons

    As with starting any new job/career there is a learning curve but if you have the willingness, work ethic, and positive attitude you will have no problems here.

    Advice to Management

    Continue to work on staff development and encourage employee engagement.

    EF English First2018-02-11
Found 18 reviews