Full TEFL sponsorships available for all English First Teachers

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About

EF English First, a division of EF Education First, is the world’s leading privately owned education company. Founded in 1965, EF operates in 53 countries around the world. We have vacancies for teaching positions in 60+ cities across China, so if you enjoy the fast pace of cities like Shanghai, or if you'd rather be immersed in the more traditional culture of a smaller city, we have the position for you.

Full arrival support (and beyond!) includes:
•Preparing your legal work visa
•Airport pickup
•Free hotel
•Free Chinese lessons (it is not necessary to speak Chinese to live and work in China)
•Support network of over 2,000 teachers across 60+ cities in China
•Invitations to regular social and cultural events

There’s so much to experience when you live abroad, and EF English First will help you make the most of this great opportunity.

Highlights
  • Free Foundation TEFL sponsorship
  • Upfront paid flights to many locations
  • Ongoing professional development training
  • Compensation package up to 16,400rmb
  • Over 200 schools located in over 60 cities across China

Questions & Answers

Hi Charles! China visa regulations state that a male must be between the ages of 18-60, while a female's age range is 18-55. Please note, if you would turn one of these ages during the length of your visa, China will not issue the visa. For example, if a man is 59 and his 60th birthday would occur during his year overseas, China would not issue the visa. I hope this information helps. Sincerely,...
Hello, thanks for your interest in our program. Unfortunately, due to local visa requirements, only passport holders of the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa (for China only), China, Indonesia or Russia can be considered for our job openings. I appreciate your understanding
Hi Lori! It is possible to secure a dependent visa for your child to come to China. Of course, you'll want to be sure to consider how to provide for all of your child's needs here in China. Education, for example, may only be possible through private schooling, which can be quite expensive. Sincerely, Erica Fairchild
Hi Terry! China visa regulations state that a male must be between the ages of 18-60, while a female's age range is 18-55. Please note, if you would turn one of these ages during the length of your visa, China will not issue the visa. For example, if a man is 59 and his 60th birthday would occur during his year overseas, China would not issue the visa. I hope this information helps. Sincerely,...

Reviews

77%
based on 34 reviews
  • Benefits 7.9
  • Support 7.9
  • Fun 8.2
  • Facilities 7.7
  • Safety 8.6
Showing 16 - 30 of 34
Default avatar
englishteacherchina
3/10

HORRBLE Company and Management

EF did a horrble job at helping us accommodate to China. They did not even tell us that we needed 100RMB for the security deposit at that low-quality hotel they made us stay at (which, by the way, they changed it to at the very last minute--great planning, huh?). Furthermore, EF poorly advised us on how to choose an apartment. They made it sound like we HAD to use an agent, and find a place RIGHT AWAY, regardless of how ridiculously expensive the rent was. They don't care! HQ is utterly and totally unreliable. Why do they not respond to e-mails? Why do they take forever to get things done? Third, we had awful healthy insurance. Our policy from socialist Sweden takes forever to reimburse the money--I had to e-mail them several times to get my money, and I had to pay a money transfer fee whenever they paid me back--outrageous! Why couldn't those idiots just pay me back in RMB?

EF teaching materials are for the pits. Slides are replete with vague and incomplete grammar explanations, as well as just inappropriate topics for a Chinese audience (one lesson asks students to say what they would change about government--since they didn't want to go to jail, class didn't go so well).

Management COULDNT CARE LESS about employees and what they think. Even though WE are the ones who do the teaching, and know what is best for the students, our opinions do not matter. EF is only concerned with the profits they can get from the naive Chinese consumer, who would be better off taking lessons at Wall Street or WEB International English. I knew a guy who almost got fired for expressing his religious views. It is not wonder the turnover rate is so high, and EF does not even pay for your airfare.

Response from EF English First

Hello and thank you for your review. Communication disparities and issues can arise like in any job, but when it happens abroad it can be even more frustrating - we understand. We’d like to discuss these challenges and work with the managers in your school to find solutions to improve your experience. We are willing to listen to teachers and need your input to create an environment wherein all employees feel valued. We always strive to promote a positive environment and continuously develop our managers. Please reach out to your Academic Operations Manager (Product Head) and the recruitment team so we can help solve these problems and prevent any from happening in the future.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Michael
5/10

Not the best place to work

I worked for EF a few years ago. They used to take great care of their teachers and made the experience fun, however they for some reason decided that teachers were no longer important. They stopped caring about teachers and saw them as a separate body from the rest of the EF team and were not even included in the Centre Parties. I've heard that things have improved a bit. The thing that really annoyed me was they were placing fake reviews on many employment web sites because so many people were giving them a bad review. When a company starts doing this, they obviously have serious moral issues. If you see a review saying it's the best company ever, i would guess it's a fake. If you want to work in China for just a year, then work with them. They will work you hard but the interaction with students is worth it. The adult students I worked with were mostly fantastic and gave me the chance to learn a lot about the Chinese Culture.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Shane
7/10

It's who you know...

EF is a superior company to work for because it is well established within China and worldwide. As a company, they are very good at getting you here safely and getting you setup right away. The salary relative to the cost of living (even in Shanghai) is quite comfortable. If you're genuinely interested in teaching as a career, you can certainly develop here and there IS tuition reimbursement. EF boasts a battery of other avenues for self-development; however, this really depends on who you know. Someone said, EF is really Business First, and in my experience this is true. There is somewhat of a competitive atmosphere within the company and you can choose be part of it or just do your job and enjoy China. If you're planning on living in a big city, be sure to make that perfectly clear-if not, you will most likely be shipped off to wherever EF is expanding in China, i.e. 2nd tier cities (this can be a good thing if you're seeking more authentic Chinese cultural immersion).

How can this program be improved?
The company would benefit from more transparency about the process of promotion as to avoid being regarded as favoritist. Sick leave is essentially docked pay, so take your vitamin C. The flight allowance could be increased; it currently barely covers your trip home, when and if you leave the company.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Robert
10/10

Great place to work!

I've worked for EF English First in China and it was a wonderful experience. The staff were super friendly, very helpful and gave me a lot to be thankful for as I worked my way through the nuances of living in China. I was able to grow as an ESL teacher, learning the best practices for classroom engagement and challenging my students.

The schedule allows you take maximize your time here, on my days off I go exploring in my neighborhood or take a weekend trip to places around China.

Teaching resources are readily available as well - the lesson plans are easy to follow, but allow you to add your own spin if you want. In addition, there are a lot of training opportunities from teaching certifications to courses that expand your knowledge of teaching the more specific & technical aspects of English language learning.

I've made so many friends here and will be staying for a long time to come!

How can this program be improved?
To be honest, very little about EF English First needs to be changed. A few things take some time to get used to, but overall the experience was great.

Some observations:

-EF's pay might be considered low compared to other schools, but we are provided with health care, tax breaks and Chinese lessons.

-The schedule is different from the 9-5, and includes working on Saturday & Sunday, but teachers get two consecutive days off during non-peak times - meaning the crowds of China are gone when you go exploring during your free time. Your friends will likely have the same time off as you, so don't worry about that.

-Chinese students have been taught English by Chinese teachers. This means know they are set in their ways of grammar and vocabulary, but have difficult using it in speech and listening. It can be difficult to change their views on how English is spoken, but you are their teacher and eventually they will appreciate the value of a having a native English speaker instructing them.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Felicia
1/10

EF is a joke, DO NOT work there

My boyfriend and I are Americans and have been teaching English for 2 years. We have a TEFL, BA, and job experience in business, etc. We never worked for EF just interviewed, but it was ridiculous. The interviewer, was extremely rude and degrading. The questions were borderline insane, and made us both very uncomfortable. It was by far the most uncomfortable interview we had ever experienced. Once we saw how incredibly rude their staff was, we knew the job wasn't for us, but on top of that they hardly offer any benefits!

If you are looking for a job in China, DO NOT teach here. You can find much better pay at practically any company across China. The hours are double what most other jobs offer, and the pay is not good, even if it is your first year teaching. Try other sites like goldstar recruiting, first leap, or rockies recruiting. The staff is so friendly, hours and pay are fair, and you won't get treated like an incompetent idiot during the job interview!

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
English
4/10

Ok if you are looking for good pay in China

I taught at an EF Adult school in China.

The good things about EF:
1. You get a Z visa
2. The pay is enough for local living

Bad Things:
1. Little support for learning Chinese
2. Long work hours

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
jiaxingteacher
10/10

Teacher welfare is extremely important

I've been working with EF Franchises for nine years now. Originally I worked up North in Harbin for three years and thereafter in Jiaxing for six years. I never once felt the same passion and sense of direction that I've had since working with EF.

Teacher welfare is extremely important. There's one to one support from a mentor that you've allocated just before you join the school. The schools that I've worked in have held at least one workshop every week. We have formal evaluations every three months to give you feedback in detail on key performance areas.

Through EF I met my wife and have been able to settle down, support a family and live a fulfilling work life. I know personally a number of teachers in this school and others who've been with EF for over two years and in some cases six or seven.

If you're starting out and looking to gain time in the class with quality in support, you'd be crazy to go elsewhere. Then, if you're experienced, you're going to be hard pressed to find another organisation pushing itself to thrive at the forefront of the ESL industry.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Chris
9/10

Solid job with good induction program

I've been with EF for 7 years. During this time, I have worked for three EF Franchise schools in Dalian, Qinhangdao, and Tianjin.

Working for EF is a job. The hours are the same as they would be back home. When a teacher first arrives, they are given an induction that last around 3-4 weeks. This induction helps the teacher to become familiar with EF products, materials, teaching skills, activities, and classroom management. During the second week the new teacher will co-teach, which helps them to become more confident. Usually in the third week, the teacher is given some of their own classes and by the fourth week they would be on a full schedule.

There are two intensive periods that last for a different amount of time depending on which city you work in. The winter one ranges from 2-6 weeks and the summer one ranges from 4-8 weeks.

Overall, I recommend working for EF. It's a company where you can have a career if you choose and it's also a place where you can stay for a year and have a new experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Adam
10/10

Rewarding experience, great community

I taught at an EF franchise school in Zhangjiagang for several years and had a great time. From the first day airport pickup I was made to feel very welcome and the teachers all took me out for dinner on my first night. The local staff arranged all my visa documents and provided me with a Chinese phone and a fully furnished apartment with wi-fi already set up.

I'd not had much experience before coming to EF, but I had plenty of opportunities to observe classes and my workload increased steadily but always with a lot of support from other teachers. They had interactive whiteboards, which made using video and other cool stuff really easy. We had weekly teacher training sessions, were observed regularly, and I had the opportunity to do a TKT certificate while there. The management were supportive and fair. We had a western manager whose door was always open, and the Chinese management generally left him to it.

The city I was in was quite small, but people were friendly - it was a great place to learn Chinese. I had a thoroughly rewarding time there and would recommend it to anyone wanting to experience China.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Not
3/10

Be careful with EFBe careful with EF

I taught with EF for a year in one of their franchise schools. I can say it was a nightmare. The other staff were heavy drinkers and drug users. Some staff even came to work under the influence, which is completely unprofessional and unacceptable, but nothing was done.
Teaching was pretty much the last thing the school was around for. Our owner was stingy with supplies and only twice during the entire year sponsored an event for teachers. If they didn't need something from you, you were ignored.
This job was a joke to almost the entire staff, incomplete lesson plans and poor performance went unaddressed, and good work was pretty much just ignored.
It was a lonely, scary, depressing, and really awful year.
If I were to go into it again, knowing how the year would turn out, I would leave immediately. I still kick myself for "sticking it out" and "keeping my word", mostly because I was so let down by that empty promise of an enjoyable year.
Teaching there felt like you were trapped. The apartment was nice though, balcony, nice area, the pay wasn't great, and academic support was pretty much non-existent.
The Chinese staff was pretty new every few months, working there was a nightmare for the CC's and PA's as well. One CC told me she would have nightmares about having no students for demos, which happened frequently. Communication between departments was awful, classes were scheduled and the teacher was never notified, or cancelled and no one was informed, sometimes even the parents didn't know what was going on.

EF courses (their materials) are very well done, and I could see EF in a bigger city, with good staff around being a decent place to work, however that was not the case at all.
No way would I recommend that program to anyone. Be careful and do your research.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
ChinaDoll
7/10

EF is Business First

EF is definitely a Business. This has it's good and bad points. On the good side you have a lot more security and accountability than a small school and they're quite experienced in bringing people to China. They reimburse your TEFL (I got mine from CCPED fast track so not really an issue) structure your pay with benefits to minimise tax, but if you don't The downside is that there is a lot of bureaucracy, unpaid overtime, demands for you to take on marketing and brand ambassador duties. You're not just there to help people, you're definitely a revenue stream. If you're ok with that then jump on board, you can make reasonably decent money albeit working like a dog. If you're looking to teach, help people and make a difference, probably best look elsewhere.

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar
Expat
9/10

WARNING! Professional, FUN Company ahead...

Massive support, Encouragement to excel as an educator. Even opportunities to work in fields outside of teaching. EF is a pretty cool place to work.

The centres are a positive supportive place for both the students and staff.

the materiels are excellent, along with a system that, while not completely following any single established methodology, works in a culmination of the best of the best methods. This systems really works with Chinese learners who, as you will find out very quickly, are a breed apart.

4+ years witht he program, and I don't see myself leaving anytime soon. Is EF perfect? No, but who is? Would I recommend EF? Of course...

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Cathie
7/10

Five, Fabulous, and Fun

Scared and alone, I flew to Shanghai in June 2007 to work with EF English First. I was hired to teach English to kids 3 to 18 years old. Although I had sufficient teaching experience, I was nervous because it was my first time to work abroad. But no sooner than I put down my suitcase than I realized I was in good hands. My DOS was warm and supportive, the staff were friendly, and the school was beautiful.
I underwent a series of training and orientation before they gave me my own kids to teach. There was a lot of support coming from the other teachers. Materials were abundant - from books, to DVDs, to toys! Teachers were kept busy with fun and not-so-fun activities. There were parties, lectures and seminars, marketing activities, as well as, parents meetings. Tiring? Yes. But it was never dull.
After three years of working with EF Kids, I moved to EF Smart - the school for adults. Sure, teachers were just as busy, the school was as fancy,and resources were just as plentiful.However, EF Kids was expanding really quickly, EF Smart was not. It was quite difficult to move up the corporate ladder.
After 5 years with EF, I felt that it was time to move on.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
HeavyMetalFoodie
10/10

EF China

When I first came to China I knew that I wanted to teach so I spent a fair bit of time doing my research on what company offers the most support for the best salary.

EF really does a great job. Even before you start they give you excellent directions and help in getting your Z visa. Your recruiter is with you at all times to answer any questions you may have. When you arrive in China the company puts you up in a hotel for two weeks, gives you micro-teaching training, gives you a real estate agent and generally helps you acclimate to life in China.

During your first three weeks at your school your DoS(Director of Studies) will pair you up with a mentor to train you and answer any questions you have to living in the country. The entire office from the administrative, sales, and customer relations are on your side to help you enjoy your time.

Once you've finished your in house three week training you are given your own schedule and are constantly provided with support to grow as a teacher. The company also offers numerous chances at moving up.

All in all the experience has been amazing and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Former
9/10

Fun, Professional, & Rewarding

I came to China planning to teach for just a year. I had so much fun and found it so rewarding that I taught for almost 3 years.

Pros:
-Friendly teachers, really into people and teaching
-Clean, modern schools
-Awesome students who were eager to learn and meet foreigners

Cons:
-Offices can be a little "cozy" (be prepared to share space)
-A lot of the centers are in shopping malls, so the restrooms are outside the school and quality varies.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

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About EF English First

How we began: EF English First was founded in 1965 by a young Swedish entrepreneur named Bertil Hult. Our first office was modest and our concept was straightforward: take Swedish students to England to learn English.

Who we are: Almost 5 decades...