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EF English First Reviews

Updated February 12, 2018
213 reviews

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3.6
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Jacob Toren
74 Ratings

213 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Paid on time AND received full value of benefits (didn't have to beg for airfare subsidies etc) (in 14 reviews)

  • Minimal to no lesson planning as lesson plans are set by EF (in 12 reviews)

Cons
  • Summer and winter school full on and can be exhausting but doesn't last too long (in 8 reviews)

  • Work/life balance sucks due to long hours and weird schedule (in 14 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "English Teacher and School Activity Coordinator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    A lot of advancement opportunities and great experience if you want to have a career in TEFL or School management.

    Cons

    Sometimes the cultural difference in running a company can be a little difficult


  2. Helpful (6)

    "Good way to get your feet wet in China"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First (More than a year)

    Pros

    Easy work, Management stays off your back

    Cons

    Some serious ageism going on

    Advice to Management

    I arrived at the company almost a year ago. My manager trained me for two hours on my first day on the job...and then a few months later - he chatted to me for ten minutes because he wanted to interview each member of the team individually. That has been the extent of my interaction with my manager. In all the months since, I have never had my work reviewed or commented on. He has never asked me about my classes. I was never rebuked or praised in my ten months with the company. About the only meaningful conversation I had with my manager as of late was when he asked me to falsify his CertDiptesol paperwork. To be honest...if it weren't for the headache of finding someone to cover my classes, I don't think management would notice if I were alive or dead. I was never given one of those nifty pink lanyards and it took them six months to get my picture on the wall. However, during my time with the company, my EEAs have always been well attended, I have never been late for a class and have always been prepared. I have also worked very hard on the Corporate Solutions side of the business and have done quite well there...so well in fact that I was being interviewed for a promotion. I turned it down because I have had enough of working overseas and wish to return to America. The pay is mediocre, but that is fair enough since the work is quite easy.

    I did state as a con that I believe there is a lot of prejudice against people over forty years old. Everyone on the Shanghai management team seem to be in either their late twenties to early thirties.

    Having said all that, I have always been paid on time and the on-boarding process made the transition to China a relatively pleasant experience. There are many opportunities to be found in China and I would recommend EF as a way to explore the landscape and put your ambition to work.

    EF English First Response

    Dec 26, 2017 – Vice President

    Hello, thank you for your feedback and honest advice. It is not normal to only have 2 hours of training once you've finished with the on-boarding process and have arrived at your center. Please email... More

  3. Helpful (12)

    "BEWARE! THEY ARE UNTRUTHFUL ABOUT LETTING YOU OUT OF YOUR CONTRACT!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Taught in China. The facilities were very good and working with the kids and family was excellent.

    Cons

    Working with the management was a nightmare. They made you do many things not part of the contract. There are many other teaching companies in China that pay better. I had enough and found a better teaching job. Management did not renew my contract but ALSO refused to provide me with the various release papers required by the new job - they claimed they did not have to but it is illegal for them not to do so. I have filed a complaint with the local authorities but had to leave China since my work visa expired with them and they would not give me the visa release paperwork to start with another company there.

    Advice to Management

    If you do not want to renew someone's contract. stop trying to mess them over when they get another teaching job with another company.

    EF English First Response

    Sep 13, 2017 – Vice President

    Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your experience at EF English First. Please send an email to teacher.feedback@ef.com so we can better address the situation.


  4. Helpful (4)

    "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Good training and development for new teachers.
    In school facilities were top notch.

    Cons

    Working evenings and weekends mostly, so not great for social activities in the city.
    Summer session can be very intensive.


  5. Helpful (6)

    "A bit of both"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    The team you'll work with is amazing, most people are generous and kind and really want to help any newcomer. Teaching is amazing, kids can be rowdy but they're just being kids. The teaching environment is well-done, usually very well thought through and provides people with a very nice experience here.

    Cons

    Management being usually Chinese, you'll need to adapt to other ways of working, adapting to hierarchy, all the things that are "unsaid". Foreign management doesn't have lots of weight in higher management decisions. Manage your expectations. Be sure to understand that Education is a business, not a charity. It can be done very efficiently and professionally but in most cases, when a choice between doing the right academic decision and the cost that it may generate is quickly made in favor of profit.


  6. Helpful (10)

    "Contract Violated"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Teacher in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The students were nice and some teachers were helpful.

    Cons

    The administrators were HORRIBLE. They refused to pay for the flight as specified by the terms of the contract. They forced teachers to take split shifts — morning and evening with huge gaps in the afternoon. The resource center lacked activities for most levels( i.e., teachers had to spend personal time creating activities.) Their one-to-one program was ineffective and pointless for most students. Their curriculum was the worst I've ever seen. The texts were total garbage with zero fun games. The director had ZERO experience and got a teaching certificate in a 2 week training seminar. The pay was terrible — less than US minimum wage. They rationed paper to teachers. The administrators discouraged teachers and were terribly rude to the staff. Local teacher turnover rate was 1 to 2 replacements per month, so fast I couldn't keep up with their names. School expected teachers to put in personal time (no pay) for clubs and activities.

    Advice to Management

    Get some real teachers and administrators to your remote schools. Rethink your curriculum and its designers. Never advance inexperienced personnel to administrative positions. Make sure your administrators fulfill the terms and agreements of contracts without question. Stock your teachers resource centers with proper materials.

    EF English First Response

    Jun 9, 2017 – Vice President

    Thank you for your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you are unhappy with your experience with us at EF English First. EF English First is a professional company, and our hiring process and... More


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Worked for me"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher
    Former Employee - Teacher
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at EF English First full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Relatively good pay, solid support for Visa process and getting around.

    Cons

    Intensives period is harsh, home office meddlesome, may require office hours just to keep you busy.

    Advice to Management

    Let people go home if there is nothing to do. Trust me, we are better teachers if we can rest.

  8. Helpful (5)

    "The knife that keeps lodging deeper"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Prearranged lessons but that's also possible to be a negative.

    Cons

    On top of all the other reasons not to work in their online program: you get charged double taxes at tax time because you're considered both the employee and the employer and on top of the tiny salary for a bachelor's degree, you get hit again when they take even more money away from you than if you were paid through normal means. You get no benefits when you teach English online and in truth you're actually probably going in debt for working there, no matter how hard you work, you will never break even.


  9. Helpful (4)

    "Love the teaching, hate the platform/policies"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at EF English First part-time

    Pros

    I love meeting new students and helping them with their English.

    Cons

    While I understand there will be technology issues for an online platform, it really disturbs me that the teachers are penalized for deficiencies in the platform. Not only are teachers knocked for missing a class or arriving late when there are EF server issues, but we also lose out on pay for something we have no control over. From a business perspective, it is also harmful because students spend their time in class trying to solve technical issues and not learning English.

    Advice to Management

    Address your policy around technology. If there are technical issues where a teacher cannot enter class, they should not be penalized for that. If there are technical issues affecting classes, students should also be made aware so they are not losing time. Please address/upgrade your platform.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Great"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    I had the freedom to plan a lot of my own classes. The people you meet are amazing. People are generally ready to learn.

    Cons

    There were long meetings sometimes. The workload was heavy at times, but if you prioritized effectively, you could easily get through it.

    Advice to Management

    Keep it up!


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