When I first became interested in sacrificing a year to work in underserved communities overseas I heard great things about WorldTeach and decided to apply. The staff in Boston were incredibly polite and assisted me greatly in preparing the necessary paperwork to travel and teach ESL in Hunan, China. Upon arrival though it quickly became apparent that further supports were limited and the schools we were told we were helping appeared to be given a raw deal. We were supplied no teacher-made lesson plans throughout our year of service, severely under-compensated when it comes to a stipend, and expected to hand over all of our intellectual property while receiving no feedback whatsoever.
The issue that I and other "volunteers" had the most difficulty with was the fact that it appeared that none of our schools knew that we had volunteered our time and were being so poorly compensated. This made sense once I discovered that all of the schools were paying a premium fee to have us as teachers (more money than they would pay a non-volunteer teacher from an agency) and were told that our travel expenses among others were covered by said fee in their contract even though that was not the case. I believe the program cost for the schools was the same regardless of whether the school was urban or rural. Furthermore, many of the schools were not in the least bit "underserved" as the pre-departure and online WorldTeach literature had us believe, and in fact some "volunteers" were working alongside fellow foreign teachers hired by the school who were paid double what our stipend was for less work and limited oversight. This last fact made rationalizing our service and sacrifice nearly impossible. A majority of WT volunteers needed to find extra jobs after work or on the weekends just to make ends meet because we received the lowest stipend allowed by US law so that WT could maintain its nonprofit status.
The program has now changed (along with the WT website and online descriptions 3 times in the last 2 years) to be a "China Fellowship". We were not told of the change in the programs name or new focus while we were serving as volunteers. I believe the new "China Fellows" will be doing essentially the same thing past volunteers had been doing.
Essentially, in my opinion WT is acting as a regular ESL teacher agency with stricter rules for its ESL teachers and not an altruistic entity connecting decent people with underserved communities in China. If it is your desire to work in impoverished or needy schools in China I encourage you to find a legitimate agency to work with or find a school and negotiate your own contract.
I can not speak to the other locations that WT works with/in. I do know that China is awfully unique in its ESL programs and schools so I don't extend my poor experience unto the other programs. But after a year of dealing with WorldTeach I would not feel comfortable suggesting this opportunity to others because it simply is not worth your time and sacrifice, nor the time and money of the school you hope to support. There are better options for you if you want to teach English in China.
P.S. Teaching in China was fantastic and I loved my school, students, and community. I would recommend the job to any decent, hardworking, and caring individual. I was just upset to discover the volunteers' altruism was taken advantage of.