EF English First Reviews | Glassdoor

EF English First Reviews

Updated February 15, 2019
312 reviews

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3.5
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Jacob Toren
125 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • "You get paid on time, and Visa's are on the up and up which is more than a lot of other schools can say" (in 17 reviews)

  • "Great opportunities, cool working environment with" (in 21 reviews)

Cons
  • "you have to work summer and winter courses, which sometimes means 9-9 days, 6 days a week" (in 12 reviews)

  • "Schedule in the summer and winter is very stressful because of long hours" (in 21 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Beyond just teaching"

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

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

    Pros

    Amazing opportunities for upward development. ESL is a tough industry and it's something you age out of, if you choose to, at EF you have more than a few directions into which you can develop and be promoted. I know people who started off as teachers with no previous relevant experience who are now senior content developers as well as Regional Managers etc

    As far as annual leave goes: For your second year you'll get 12 days, 3rd year about 15 and after 5 years, you'll get 20 annual leave days per year.

    As mentioned if all you are looking for is to teach for a year or so and not worry about Visa arrangements, EF is a good starting block. You get paid on time, and Visa's are on the up and up which is more than a lot of other schools can say.

    EF also partners with Cambridge Trinity and you'll be able to sign a development contract to obtain the CertTesol, DipTesol, DeltM as well as distance learning courses which focus on Grammar, Teaching Phonology, Coaching, Reflective Practice etc.

    Annual leave is pro-rated so if you start early in the year you should get between 8-9.5 annual leave days for the year, this is excluding Chinese New Year, Summer Course Break (usually about 5 days) and other Chinese festival days off.

    Obviously, I am a bit biased as I am currently still employed by EF Kids and Teens but I can say that I have past experiences teaching in all facets of the industry and that EF weights heavily on both sides of the spectrum, you can either keep your head down and just teach for a year and get paid to do so whilst being provided with all possible resources or they will actively try to develop you should you show an interest in staying around for a bit. EF is a global company and they have HQ's and schools in China, Indo, Russia as well as offices in Aus, the US and UK, this makes travelling around a bit easier.

    Cons

    If all you do is teach you might find the job a bit constraining as materials are overdeveloped to better assist new teachers so it will be up to you to adapt and change materials to suit your own style. It might at times feel like you are being spoonfed but again, more experienced teachers will probably be able to easily adapt materials and lesson aims to depend on student needs.

    Another con, especially, if you are a first-year teacher with dreams of a 40K Shanghai job and lots of time off, you'll find that you probably won't have weekends off, however once you've stuck around for 2 years or so, you'll probably be able to negotiate at least 1 Weekend day off, an example, Sunday, Monday or split days off, ex: Saturday, Monday.
    In general, you'll have two consecutive days off during the week. A working day starts at 2 PM until about 8:15 PM during the week, weekends are 9AM-6PM. When it's summer or winter course you'll have a few days during the week where you'll teach morning or mid-afternoon classes outside of your regular schedule, but again, you usually get a bonus for every week of additional teaching you do and you'll get another bonus if you go over your contracted hours.

    As mentioned in other reviews on this site, your Dos and regional management will play a large part in how you experience your time here. If you have a manager who is intent on developing their teachers you'll be fine, unfortunately, that's not always the case and you might end up at a centre where you feel like your needs aren't being taken into consideration and that you are not being managed in a constructive way.

    The pay for a first-year teacher isn't super great, especially in a city like Shanghai where the cost of living is quite high, but it's still manageable and they are generally quite good about helping new teachers with cash advances for renting apartments. I should mention that all my comments only refer to the Kids and Teens Product as I don't really have any experience in the Adult's, Teens only, and Online products.

    Advice to Management

    Keep focussing on teacher development and make sure you set expectations during the recruitment phase. Don't promise prospective teachers things which a CD or DoS can't deliver on. Also, make sure that PM's keep track of teachers satisfaction with management as unaired issues tend to build up and that causes some people to leave or to become disengaged.


  2. "EF"

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

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    Curriculum is good. Teaching the students is actually fun as you can develop your own style.

    Cons

    Depends on centers and management. Some werent the most capable and beat around the bush with everything, making problems difficult to solve.

  3. "Unorganized company"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Teacher
    Former Employee - Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You get to see China. Visa process is simple.

    Cons

    Not a real school. This is a tutoring center. There is an awkward power Trip going on between the different races. Condescending attitudes and behavior is the norm. The trashiest of people can become something with this company and put in bare minimum. The oganization is the worst. Just a bunch of kids figuring out life. Don't waste your time if you're looking for true professionalism.

    Advice to Management

    Train on true leadership, not "Condescending-ship".

    EF English First Response

    Jan 29, 2019 – Vice President

    Thank you for your post. We are sorry to hear that you had a negative experience.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "A Nightmare"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at EF English First full-time

    Pros

    The kids are excited to learn.

    Cons

    You will be harassed at every corner. The company will treat you like a slave. you will be counting down the days until your contract ends.

    Advice to Management

    stop your illegal work practices.

    EF English First Response

    Jan 2, 2019 – Vice 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... More


  5. "Worth the experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in China, ME
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in China, ME
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great employee benefits such as furnished apartment, monthly team building,end of contract bonus, medical aid options.

    Cons

    You don't get a weekend or school holidays off as those are actually peak times :(

    Advice to Management

    DOS was really amazing. Very accomodating and flexible.


  6. "Overseas Recruiter"

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

    Pros

    Fun company culture. Opportunity to travel. The people you will work with are fun, motivated, well-travelled, and well-cultured.

    Cons

    If you work abroad it is hard to find a job in the states if you want to stay with the company.

    Advice to Management

    Thank you for providing me with the best employment experience I have had in my life.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Great opportunities"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Project Manager
    Current Employee - Project Manager
    Recommends

    Pros

    Great opportunities, cool working environment with
    international colleagues. You have the chance to choose and conduct projects
    that interest you since they believe employees will perform better when they
    like what they are doing.

    Cons

    Sometimes working hours can be long, but well valued and
    compensated

  8. Helpful (20)

    "Luck of the Draw"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Current Employee - ESL Teacher
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at EF English First full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    If you get lucky, unlike me, you could be at a very productive and professional center. Other teachers I know feel very supported by management, have all the supplies they need, and feel prepared for class each day. You will also always be paid on time, which can not always be said for ESL teaching companies. There is also a huge amount of opportunities and venues both in and out of teaching, all within the EF brand.

    Cons

    If you get unlucky, like me, you can end up in an absolutely awful center. Management is inexperienced and untrustworthy and every day will be a challenge to prepare for classes. You may never know how many kids to prepare for in a class (happened to me yesterday morning: my class tripled in size with no warning). Your PA's will throw you under the bus at any opportunity to cover themselves. Entire classes may appear on your schedule with no notice. Once a safety issue arose and we were told to lie to the parents about their students' safety to not incite a panic. The pay, while on time, is low for the standard you see amongst other companies. With the insurance they provide, you pay all your doctor bills up front and have to submit a claim to get reimbursed, but no one I know has ever gotten reimbursed. You get very little annual leave. And all those other job opportunities, you have to make it at least through your year to get to them. If you're struggling like I am, that year could feel like 5.

    Advice to Management

    The standard of centers needs to be the same across the board. Many other teachers I know have fabulous centers that are very productive and have a good working environment. Other centers are almost famously underperforming and the entire staff is unhappy. Every manager higher and higher that I've spoken to is acutely aware of which centers are the "problem centers", but nothing is being done to correct it.

    EF English First Response

    Aug 28, 2018 – Vice President

    Thank you for leaving your feedback regarding your EF experience. We take all comments seriously and would like to follow-up with you regarding your work schedule and the safety issue you mentioned... More


  9. Helpful (27)

    "Racist"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    get you to china for sure

    Cons

    they only need white people, don't even apply if you are not white.

    Advice to Management

    stop lying on the ads

    EF English First Response

    Aug 28, 2018 – 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. We are a professional company that does not tolerate racism, nor do we want to... More


  10. Helpful (36)

    "Racist and will treat you like trash. If you aren’t white don’t apply!!!! Please stay away from this company!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Teacher in China, ME
    Former Employee - English Teacher in China, ME
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    They will like only white people. If you are white this is great for you!

    Cons

    They will only treat white people like gods. If you are darker than white you will be harassed, watched like a criminal, ignored and forced into slavery like conditions.

    Advice to Management

    Warn anyone not white because you cause psychological damage to ANY minority.
    If you hire anyone yellow, brown or black tell them your racist history so they don’t get stuck in modern slavery

    EF English First Response

    Jul 4, 2018 – Vice President

    We are extremely disappointed to hear your negative feelings. EF has been opening the world through education for over 60 years and we pride ourselves on being an equal opportunities employer with an... More