EF English First Reviews | Glassdoor

EF English First Reviews

Updated Oct 13, 2019

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3.1
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53%
Recommend to a Friend
61%
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EF English First CEO 	Jacob Toren (no image)
Jacob Toren
150 Ratings
  1. Helpful (29)

    "Just Run Away...RUN"

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

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

    Pros

    Well...they get you to China I suppose.

    Cons

    Makes it deliberately difficult for you to go to another company by messing with your visa if they decide to fire you or you leave. This can't possibly be legal. You cannot trust anyone in management not to throw you under the bus if you have even a single issue. You only get 10 days annual leave. 10. Teachers are stressed out and overworked...and no one really cares because you should feel "lucky to be... here." So lucky you will skip meals. The threat of being fired is constant and thus there is no room to feel comfortable. You never get to feel like your improvements matter. Is there any surprise the turn over rate is horrible? Not really. There isn't any actual training. Every single thing is just a test despite them claiming it's training. And if you make mistakes at "regional training" it will be held over your head when you get to your individual center. They can absolutely fire you without 3 days notice. I watched it happen. And if you are fired you will owe them money for the housing advance. Why is there no HR department? No really who are you meant to talk to about anything without facing consequences? They hold your reimbursement hostage so good luck with that. They ironically never use constructive feedback. I say ironic because they say that's what you should do when teaching...and every other company knows training=teaching you new employees not humiliating them for not being perfect at a job they have no experience in. Why bother recruit people with no experience in the first place?

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    Advice to Management

    Be honest with people during the recruitment process. Also legitimate companies have a HR department so that you can avoid favoritism or unfair repercussions for making simple complaints.

    EF English First2018-04-03

    EF English First Response

    April 26, 2018Vice President

    Thank you for your feedback. We're sorry to hear of your experiences. Please email us at teacher.feedback@ef.com so we can better address your concerns.

  2. Helpful (23)

    "Good way to get your feet wet in China"

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

    I have been working at EF English First for 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.

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    EF English First2017-11-27

    EF English First Response

    December 26, 2017Vice 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 teacher.feedback@ef.com and we can follow up with management about your experience.

  3. Helpful (1)

    "English Teacher and School Activity Coordinator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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

    EF English First2017-11-10
  4. Helpful (30)

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

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

    I worked at EF English First full-time for 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.

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    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 First2017-08-05

    EF English First Response

    September 13, 2017Vice 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.

  5. Helpful (11)

    "A bit of both"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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.

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    EF English First2017-05-26
  6. Helpful (4)

    "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    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.

    EF English First2017-05-22
  7. Helpful (20)

    "Contract Violated"

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

    I worked at EF English First

    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.

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    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 First2017-05-28

    EF English First Response

    June 9, 2017Vice 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 contract aim to be as clear as possible. Before anyone accepts the offer to join us in China, we send teachers a copy of the contract to review in advance. Within each contract, terms are stated, and we work hard to maintain consistency so that teachers are treated equally and fairly. As well as offering a competitive local salary, we do offer further training opportunities and qualifications that you can take advantage of, should you choose to. As well as the Foundation TEFL, these courses offer a more in-depth study of language teaching as well as practical methodologies. Many of our sponsored training courses are internationally recognised and will open up further career opportunities in the language teaching industry. We do our best to ensure that all course materials are up to date, and are of the highest standard. Any pre-prepared classes are designed to fit the syllabus as a whole. Teachers are also encouraged to modify classes, by adding games and warm up activities to meet the needs of the particular class. We find that this gives the teacher more autonomy so that they can develop professionally, and tailor lessons to meet students needs. If you would like to offer more feedback on how we can improve the overall teaching experience for our teachers, please send an email to teacher.feedback@ef.com

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  8. Helpful (7)

    "Worked for me"

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

    I worked at EF English First full-time for 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.

    EF English First2017-03-30
  9. Helpful (13)

    "The knife that keeps lodging deeper"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    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.

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    EF English First2017-03-28
  10. Helpful (12)

    "Love the teaching, hate the platform/policies"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    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.

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    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.

    EF English First2017-03-17
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