EF English First Reviews | Glassdoor

EF English First Reviews

Updated Sep 19, 2019

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Found 382 reviews

3.1
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55%
Recommend to a Friend
66%
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EF English First CEO 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
144 Ratings
  1. Helpful (1)

    "Don’t do it there’s better companies"

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

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

    Pros

    Visa will be legal. And there’s a decent work expectation.

    Cons

    Management is terrible. Everyone is a liar aboutbeven the most basic things. When you try to leave they threaten you with legal action. Overworked and make half the salary if other schools.

    EF English First2019-09-20
  2. "A good first job"

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

    I have been working at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    -living abroad -good colleagues and work environment -continual training and professional development -yearly promotion to next band

    Cons

    -hectic daily and weekly schedule -low salary compared to dollar -high teacher turnover

    Advice to Management

    Find ways to keep teachers longer than a year: better pay, improved benefits, more reasonable schedulig.

    EF English First2019-09-16
  3. "Great Environment"

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

    I worked at EF English First full-time for more than 3 years

    Pros

    - Great Environment - Great Company Culture - Friendly Co-Workers (I would call them my brothers-in-arms) - A lot of training (optional, not mandatory ) -

    Cons

    - Promotion Structure is by seniority - Managers never leave so harder for people to get promoted

    Advice to Management

    Create more vertical & horizontal job opportunities

    EF English First2019-09-16
  4. "Not for everyone"

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

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

    Pros

    Helpfull assimilation process 2 week hotel stay on arrival

    Cons

    They did not cover my flight expenses while "Free Flights" is advertised almost anywhere you look

    EF English First2019-09-14
  5. "more cons than pros"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    sense of community in the office, lovely to work with local teachers

    Cons

    Your salary hardly goes up, there are no HR resources at all, paid way less than other teachers at language centres, duties far exceed what one it told in the beginning, no paid sick leave, some centres very rundown compared to other high tech and comfortable ones.

    Advice to Management

    make sure all schools and offices are at the same level of comfort and efficiency.

    EF English First2019-09-13
  6. "Depends on location (mine was Chile)"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - English Teacher in Santiago
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

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

    Pros

    Great colleagues, nice students, some flexibility with timetable

    Cons

    Dishonest, arrogant management, who don't keep their word. Pay is crap.

    Advice to Management

    Treat staff with more respect

    EF English First2019-09-11
  7. "Stress"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai

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

    Pros

    You get paid on time and your visa is sorted

    Cons

    Extremely stressfull environment to work in. Incredible staff turnover. One of the biggest problems was the course consultants demanding you do exactly what the parents wanted. Even if this demand went against the student's best interests, e.g. Putting a student in a class that was not suitable for their level because their parents think their child is a wunderkind or because they didn't like a certain teacher. This... was done a number of times without the students being tested. I protested this to no avail. This of course led to all sorts of problems in class. Another problem was as soon as the ccs/ management find out you are a good/ popular teacher you will find your schedule jampacked and your classroom filled up with students. This would not be a problem if you didn't see other bad/ unpopular teachers sitting back in the office with fewer classes and getting paid just as much if not more depending on how long they have been there. One of the other problems was the staff rooms for teachers, they used to be so cramped, uncomfortable and hot in the schools I worked in. This led to teachers having arguments with each other and ccs, etc. I saw so many arguments in different schools, and a good few local/foreign managers fired. During an open door the parents will come and observe your class if you do well most parents will pay for another course if not your cc will be very unhappy with you because they get commission for every student that stays for another course. You as a teacher get nothing extra. The pressure some new teachers are under during these open doors is huge. The pressure coming from management and ccs. Summer and winter courses are intense. Be prepared to work from 9:00 AM to 9:00 even 10:00 pm on weekdays and your normal 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM on weekends. But don't worry you will have no office hours during morning and evening classes during summer course. This is just management saying we don't have to pay you between morning and evening classes because you have no office hours. You are still expected to do lesson plans, correct tests etc. It's a complete joke. In one school I worked in 80 percent of teachers quit just before summer course. They couldn't take it anymore.

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    Advice to Management

    I'm surprised you guys are still around to be honest. One of the reasons I guess is that you can always replace a teacher once they've left with a new one. Teacher turnover must be 80 to 90% per year. I've seen a good few managers get fired/ leave/ resign in my time there too. A lot of the problems are easily fixable in the company but they never are because you must still be making a profit and your turnover rate... doesn't really concern you. I guess the only headwind for you in future will be the fact that you expanded so rapidly in China and the economy there is slowing down, along with the yuan depreciating and increased anti foreigner sentiment.

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    EF English First2019-09-08

    EF English First Response

    September 16, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for the post. I wanted to take the time to address some of the concerns you had about your experience at your EF school. Effective communication is especially important when working with different teams. Therefore, it is unfortunate to hear there were some challenges with ...

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  8. "Pick another school"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Jiaxing
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Paperwork once you land is mostly done for you.

    Cons

    From worst to least worst: * EF Management will not keep their word. I worked there for 9 months then put in my two months notice and even have screenshots of my DoS saying my work visa would be transferred to my new school. EF waited until my last week to tell me they, and the investors, were refusing to transfer my work visa and I’d have to return to the USA in a few days or I’d be in the country illegally and... face jail time. I am now in the US. * EF will go behind your back and cancel your permits without your consent or knowledge but inform you last minute. * You aren’t actually trained but are instructed to observe a fellow teacher and after a week begin co- teaching then receive the classes from the teacher who left before you. I went without a Senior Teacher observing me ever for 8 months and received no feedback. * The curriculum is very slow moving and poorly planned. Students in Small Stars (whether in Blue, A,B, or C) will learn to parrot questions and answers but aren’t actually learning how to have a conversation. It’s almost as if the authors of the curriculum spread out a course book over several courses and levels. Students in Small Stars, version 2.0 or 3.0, will learn the “what is it? It’s a ___” structure and really only two other structures which are “do you like____? Yes I do / no I don’t” and “how many___? 3 ___”. They can’t actually ask a native English speaker about themselves but they can ask “what time do you go home in the evening?” Even after going from Small Stars Blue through Small Stars C. It’s not conducive to interacting with native English speakers or foreigners. * The schedule for the following week will be made Sunday evening or even Monday of that week. * Newest teachers will be assigned Marketing Events due to their free schedule. Marketing at EF Jiaxing was a nightmare where I would speak to someone a week prior about an event I was assigned to only to be told nothing was needed of me except my attendance and participation. Come the day of the marketing team member would frantically ask me to prepare something like a report to read students or flash cards for a recent holiday then tell me the event isn’t 30 minutes as on my schedule but two hours. Also it isn’t in the center anymore it’s at a library on a stage. * The weekly workshops at EF Jiaxing contain no development or educational value. They are workshops for 3 hours that contain menial tasks corporate didn’t want to bother with and handed them down the ladder.

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    Advice to Management

    Don’t bully or coerce foreign teachers or make them face retribution for leaving EF. Pay local staff better and treat them well too.

    EF English First2019-09-05
  9. "great way to travel, that's about it"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Novosibirsk
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    I got to travel and meet some great people during my stay abroad. Salary was well above the local average and I was able to support my girlfriend and myself comfortably. I was not able to save a lot but we had a fair amount of fun and made some great memories. The health insurance was also very good. The HR department was quick to respond but not very helpful once I was on the ground in another country!

    Cons

    TLDR; -disorganized management - poor communication skills -terrible hours As a disclaimer, I am willing to admit that the company as a whole must have some good aspects about it given that it has grown so much within the past 5 decades. It is one of the world's leading ESL education providers and that does not happen overnight. That being said, the... management at my particular school in Russia was disorganized and demonstrated poor communication skills time and time again. Several months before arriving, the HR department provided me with a labor contract. As soon as I got there, I was told I had to sign a different contract. The key differences between the two contracts were that I would have to work weekends and that the school was not obligated to pay for my housing. I was also told before arriving that the school would find me a place to stay. Two days before arriving, my manager told me that they couldn't find me a spot "because it was hard to find a landlord who would rent to a foreigner", but "it will be okay, you can stay in a hotel for a couple days and then surely, you'll find someone". WHAT!? Thank goodness my girlfriend was able to find a mutual contact who lived in the city where I would work, so that was taken care of. We arrived and suddenly, magically, I was told that they had found an apartment for me, of course it was significantly more expensive than the one we had found. When I told them we had found a spot on our own, their eyes lit up like a deer in headlights, "REALLY!? HOW!? THEY SAID THEY WOULD RENT TO YOU, AND DO THE REGISTRATION!?" I was met with skepticism from the get-go. This attitude carried over into the work environment. The management and other coworkers were very much the type to let problems linger and build up until the damage had already been done. Ultimately, I knew I could teach, but being there made me feel like I couldn't. At the same time, my planning and organization skills did improve. They had to, imagine 4, 2-hour classes back to back with less than 10 minutes in between.

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    Advice to Management

    Hire someone with more than a B1 English level who actually worked in the education field to direct the school. Don't just think of the profits. Those children's futures are in your hands

    EF English First2019-09-04
  10. "2+ years in and would still probably recommend"

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

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

    Pros

    Can't speak for everyone, but I had a well-organized and professional onboarding process. Actual teacher training. They give you support to integrate in China more effectively (whether everyone makes use of it is another story). The products and materials to teach are useful and well-structured. Opportunities to study further within TESOL are prominent.

    Cons

    The workload can be heavy at a rate that's not really proportional to the pay. Especially during busy summer and winter periods. At a larger school, opportunities for career progression/promotion have been painfully slow, though this always depends. School operations tend to be more sales focused; sometimes requiring teachers to put aside academic quality.

    Advice to Management

    Excellent teachers do not necessarily make excellent managers. Show concern for the work-life balance. Also would be nice to have more career pipelines available other than just becoming a manager, more on the 'academic' side.

    EF English First2019-08-25

    EF English First Response

    August 30, 2019Teacher Welfare Director

    Thank you for your 2+ years of dedication and hard work. We are happy to hear that you had a well-organized and professional on-boarding experience. Your advice to extend our current Academic Career Ladder to more non-management positions is a good one, and something we are currently ...

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Found 382 reviews