SeaDragon International Education Reviews | Glassdoor

SeaDragon International Education Reviews

Updated October 15, 2018
13 reviews

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13 Employee Reviews

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  1. Helpful (1)

    "I enjoy coming to work everyday"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Really great coworkers.

    Relaxed office environment where we can focus on goals without being stymied by superficial tasks/guidelines.

    A lot of creative latitude to express personality through work. Senior management is open to new ideas, new strategies. Everyone's opinion gets heard.

    The company wants to grow and there are opportunities for the future as a result. Everyone here wants to improve -- no one is satisfied with status quo.

    Cons

    The company is ambitious and growing quite fast -- maybe too fast for some of the support structures for teachers to keep up. There definitely should be greater investment of resources in this area.

    I don't want to speak for anyone else, but I have a feeling a lot of the complaints result from difficulty adapting to the Chinese management style.

    Advice to Management

    Work on strengthening communication between different branches of the company.

    Better organization around meetings and implementation of new practices/workflows.

    Support teachers better.


  2. "Stable working environment in a foreign country"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Seadragon gave me exactly what I wanted out of working for an education company in China. A casual work environment, laid back lifestyle, and the ability to travel for several weeks out of the year while still saving a good amount of money.

    Here's my top list of pros:
    -Good support system (weekly teacher training, Chinese lessons, and a "specialist" assigned to you who will help you deal with any issues or problems that may arise from living in a foreign country)
    -Low weekly teaching hours
    -Loads of vacation (some of it is paid)
    -Decent salary (good compared to other teaching companies, low compared to finding a job on your own or working for an international school)
    -Huge network of other teachers to network with/get to know

    Overall I've had a pretty good experience with Seadragon over these last few years and so have probably 90% of the other teachers I know who have worked for them.

    Cons

    -Lack of communication. They don't always communicate information to their teachers very well or as fast as they should. I would also say the communication bewteen the company, me, and my school could use some work. This will sometimes cause a minor inconvenience.
    -Potential large variance in employee satisfaction. Most people I know have had a positive experience working for Seadragon, but I also know people who have not been happy with their situation. Your location, school placement, specialist assignment, and honestly just how open you are to living in a new country/culture can definitely impact how enjoyable your job feels.
    -Like I said above in the pros the pay is decent for a company, but you can definitely make more teaching through other avenues. Felt it necessary to also mention in the cons.

    Advice to Management

    I'd recommend more training for the Chinese specialists, as well as, a more streamlined system for notifying employees and to better allow for them to escalate issues to the management team.

  3. "One of the better companies to teach for in China"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Middle School English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Former Employee - Middle School English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Public school positions means lots of vacation time and a comfortable workload, strong teacher support efforts, close-knit community of foreign teachers

    Cons

    Lots of miscommunications, company's rapid growth has brought growing pains

    Advice to Management

    Hire more specialists to provide teacher support so specialists aren't overworked--will lead to clearer and better communications and teachers being heard more


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Stable, mostly dependable employer of foreign teachers in Shenzhen and Beijing, looking to expand"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Has access to many teaching positions that will be attractive to first-time or inexperienced foreign teachers looking for a relatively easy entry level position.

    Has some positions for more experienced teachers, but is generally not competitive in this area of the market.

    Stable and legal, will take care of its teachers and effectively navigate legal grey areas, and provide support in medical emergencies.

    Large number of teachers already employed who will help new teachers adapt.

    Some experienced and professional office staff who will go the extra mile to help teachers with internal issues.

    Unlike some competitors, willing to assist teachers to transfer on to new companies within reason.

    A generally honest and well-meaning company when compared to a lot if its competitors.

    Cons

    Relatively limited history and experience in this market.

    Limited training and academic support for teachers.

    Cannot offer high salaries for most positions.

    Some what chaotic and disorganised family management structure leads to a lot of miscommunication and missed opportunities.

    High office staff turnover rate due to low wages, little training and poor management leads to leaking talent and experience.

    Limited career opportunities for those with ambitions to stay in China.

    Management does not seem to truly understand the needs and expectations of the foreign employees and the young Chinese employees that are the backbone of their business, or how to address these to better harness this talent.

    Management values perceived trustworthiness of employees over any objective measures of performance or ability, resulting in the promotion and praise of "reliable" friends and family members. Many senior staff members have insufficient skills, knowledge and experience to carry out their roles or appropriate assess or develop their own team members contributions.

    Advice to Management

    Around 80% of your employees are foreign teachers, therefore you need to place a greater emphasis on the training and engagement of these employees. Employ more staff with relevant skills in teaching, training, HR and dealing with foreign affairs. Develop metrics or KPIs to objectively assess the performance of all your staff and reward people based on their performance. Employ staff with a variety of backgrounds and experiences and train them appropriately, it is not enough to employ young and inexperienced Chinese staff and expect them to work it out as they go along.

    Employ or identify more suitably experienced middle managers, listen to what they have to say, and empower them to make changes. Not all decisions about money need to go all the way to the top of the company, especially when budgets have already been agreed, this is an unsustainable approach for a company trying to expand across China.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Horrible horrible experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Shanghai, Shanghai (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    I’ll tell you when I think of one

    Cons

    Extremely incompetent company on every front. Chinese staff know nothing about your situation even if they are supposed to be your handler.
    Foreign staff will ignore your messages and calls and claim they aren’t responsible for helping foreign teachers....even when they’re supposed to be our advisors.
    Blatant racism in the company, they pay white men way more than women and treat black and Asian employees horribly.
    Late pay, super late at night or the wrong day
    Always new staff who know nothing
    Constantly changing contracts
    No communication or you’re playing telephone with people who should know what’s going on
    Case handlers are liars, they’ll tell one teacher something and lie to you thinking you don’t talk to your coworkers
    Any positive reviews about this company are 100% lies, they pay white guys more to lie and scam more people

    Advice to Management

    Stop scamming people and close up shop. Worst company ever


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    My handler was very helpful.

    Cons

    This company is so poorly managed. It is absolutely outrageous that they are still in business. Do not sign with them. Unless you like being extremely underpaid and you like dealing with incompetent people.

    Advice to Management

    Hire qualified people?


  7. Helpful (4)

    "Run, run, run - run, run - run away!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - High School ESL Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Former Employee - High School ESL Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at SeaDragon International Education full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    They are a legitimate company and certainly not the worst in China, but...

    Cons

    Coming to China can be stressful for anyone, but it's all the more stressful when companies, namely SDE, fails to pay attention to detail and makes errors regarding visas, leaving teachers stranded in Hong Kong (largely at the teacher's expense). They assure you that you can get a z visa at the border crossing from HK to Shenzhen, however that often fails. They put their own interest over the well-being of teachers. DO NOT GET A Z VISA AT THE BORDER CROSSING! Get one in your home country before ever putting foot on the plane!

    Next, the company is not good at listening to teachers and placing them at schools that best suit the individual person. They also fail at providing sufficient housing options and only work with a couple of sister complexes owned by the same person. I'm sure SDE gets major kickbacks for having people sign leases at these complexes.

    Next, some teachers get moved to another school and are expected to get an extra apartment or have a long commute (maybe 1+ hours).

    They have paid late before and they have "specialists" handle calculating salary and doing accountancy work (which they may not have any experience with). This has led to teachers having overpaid on taxes and other mistakes.

    They're not the worst company, but honestly, you'll feel frustrated with them every time you speak with them and you're better off avoiding them if possible. I didn't come to China to downgrade my life, but thanks to SDE, that's certainly what happened.

    There's a rumor that SDE is trying to double the number of teachers next year. If that happens, those poor teachers will see a cluster like no other. Honestly, I'm under the impression that the company is a few steps away from total failure, but only time will tell.

    Advice to Management

    Hire management staff. Hire more specialists and find a way to retain the specialists for more than a couple of months. Hire an accountant. Stop making such poor decisions. Communicate better.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "An Overwhelmingly Negative Experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - Foreign Language Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Seadragon is a legitimate company who were eventually able to provide the appropriate visa.

    Cons

    Less than two weeks prior to arrival in Hong Kong we were told that instead of the modern, central area we were supposed to be appointed, we were moved to the outskirts of the city, a 2 hour journey to the city centre.

    Management and support staff are under-trained and overworked.

    The Visa Specialist Department are not completely up to date with visa regulation, which led to multiple teachers being stranded in Hong Kong for two nights. SeaDragon solved this by letting the teachers enter the country on a tourist visa and transferring this to a work permit when in the country. This meant that several teachers were initially forced to work illegally and lie to the police while the transfer was ongoing.

    This mistake personally cost each teacher over 300 euro and was never addressed by Seadragon.

    The hotel room provided was filthy and involved sharing a room with a stranger. Some of my otherwise potential colleagues left the company at this point.

    I have heard other people having positive experiences with specialists, but the specialist for my particular district is appalling.

    My colleagues were told that there is very few accommodation opportunities available and were forced to take sub standard housing a considerable distance from the school. They then went on to learn that appropriate accommodation was always available, but the specialist was cutting corners to save time.

    I believe this practice is born out of previous foreign teachers leaving their rent contracts early (in some cases from being fired) and their specialists promising to retrieve their deposits by offering this accommodation to new teachers, as "the only option".

    Our specialist was also not familiar with our particular district which meant that he had significant trouble setting up internet or dealing with banking issues.

    Throughout this we had to put up with a plethora of racist and derogatory comments towards our appearance, gender and "The West".

    My colleague eventually reported this Specialist for racism and incompetency to upper management in SeaDragon. They told her they were aware of these issues but were not willing to discipline him.

    My other colleague has recently attempted to leave the company only for Seadragon to threaten him that instead of releasing his visa to his new company, they would cancel the visa and force him to leave the country.

    Advice to Management

    There needs to be a massive improvement in training and support for specialists.

    There should be a clear structure whereby complaints and concerns can be brought to upper management, without needing to go through the specialist.

    The "on-boarding" procedure for new teachers also needs massive improvements in keeping up to date with current visa law, respecting teachers enough to give them a sanitary hotel room and assigning specialists that are capable and have enough time to properly deal with arising issues.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "English Teacher"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - English Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The opportunity to live in China and meet amazing people. So far I have been with the company for a year now and have no had any problems. My apartment is nicer than what I had living back in Chicago! Some people have different experiences depending on where you live or what kind of school you are teaching in, but so far it's been everything I hoped for.

    My specialist has been more than willing to help with everything from visas to paying taxes. Seadragon even puts on a really nice Christmas dinner and other smaller events so you don't feel like you're that far away from home. While it is a culture shock people often forget that, yes, China is a different country and things are done differently in the East. Keep an open mind and it can be one of the greatest experiences of your life. For how much free time I have I think this is one of the best jobs I've ever taken. Teaching has been beyond rewarding and see new countries is something you can't do anywhere else.

    Cons

    The biggest cons I would say is not the company itself, but the other teachers. Many complain over the smallest things. Things that are out of the control of any company.

    Advice to Management

    Keep expanding and bringing on great specialists to handle the influx of new teachers.


  10. "Good introduction to China"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Current Employee - English As A Second Language Teacher in Shenzhen, Guangdong (China)
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I have been working at SeaDragon International Education full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Experienced professional business team to help transition international talent to the requirements of teaching in China.
    Employ a large number foreign teachers. Promote a healthy and supportive community of expats living in China.
    Competent foreign teacher specialists to assist with taxes questions, living accommodations, VISA issues etc.
    Room to grow and develop as a professional educator.
    Ambitious growth expansion model to provide teaching opportunities across China.

    Cons

    Relaxed qualification standards.
    Company growth model prioritized over structural investment.
    Complicated and convoluted relationship dynamic between employer and school.

    Advice to Management

    Streamline SDE's communication channels between Foreign Teacher - SDE - Schools.
    Prioritize foreign talent retainment over annual percentage growth. Growth is important but growth without sufficient reinvestment into the company is untenable and unsustainable.
    Hire more specialists.
    Expand recruitment team.
    Prioritize foreign talent retainment.


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