ELS Educational Services Employee Reviews

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Management Playing Favorites and Unethically Changing Students' Grades
Instructor (Former Employee) –  Santa Rosa, CAJuly 24, 2019
I believe we have the best international students from all over the world, but due to unfair treatment from the management team, I decided to quit my position. The center plays favorites when it comes to treating its teachers. Different rules and standards are assigned to different teachers. The center often lies in its communication with the teachers, so make sure you double check what it says and do not put trust in everything you hear. This is not a place for Master's degree and above holders. If you get hired by the center, it is not because you are great, it is because no one else is applying for the job.
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4.0
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Meaningful work with great colleagues
Administrative Assistant IELTS (Current Employee) –  Portland, ORMay 15, 2019
Intelligent, communicative and helpful colleagues make this a great place to work. It serves international students and immigrant workers who I love to help and chat with. Because it is an educational organization, no one will ever get rich working here, but it provides a stimulating and congenial environment.
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4.0
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Most enjoyable part of the job
IELTS Test Proctor (Current Employee) –  Princeton, NJApril 3, 2019
The interviews are really interesting. I enjoy getting to know the test takers, hearing their stories and learning about their lives. Even though I am scoring them, I still am able to glean some really interesting information about their different backgrounds and cultures.
Pros
Flexible schedule
Cons
Inconsistent work
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3.0
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I enjoyed my employment with ELS. I felt they were a family oriented firm, but the economy tanked while I was there.
Marketing Manager (Former Employee) –  Princeton, NJMarch 27, 2019
A typical day at ELS was challenging and I put in long hours, but it was also rewarding. I learned about how different countries send their young college students to learn the English language. My manager was tough but fair. The workplace was very agreeable. The hardest part of the job was the challenging workflow, but it was rewarding and I loved it.
Pros
Compensation was very good, My office was very nice.
Cons
The company took a hard it with the economy and I was laid off.
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1.0
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Low Standards/Dismal Management
Instructor (Former Employee) –  USAMarch 23, 2019
Money was put well above any educational goals. Students were pushed into group classes they were not ready for (mixing very low level students with much more advanced students). The company claims it would never happen, but trust me it does as they don't want to spend money on the instructors required to teach separate classes.

Educational standards were constantly "bent" to keep students happy.


Instructors were required to work off the clock. Meetings were unpaid.
Pros
Insurance
Cons
Management, overworked, low standards
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3.0
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Education is not a business.
Instructor (Former Employee) –  Los Angeles, CAOctober 28, 2018
Not a good business model, too much pressure for everyone involved and never any room for advancement or appreciation of the work that goes into it. Everything always felt so high stakes and the culture fed this.
Pros
free lunches, activities, fun atmosphere
Cons
stressful, time consuming, not enough pay, you could lose your job at any moment
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5.0
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Great place to work.
Academic director (Current Employee) –  New York, NYOctober 1, 2018
The best in terms of salary and quality of instruction. Students are motivated and multi national. There may not be enough job stability for new teachers, but I found that new opportunities arose often.
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3.0
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enfrentando una crisis en el "modelo de negocio"
Vicepresidente de Mercadeo y Comunicaciones (Former Employee) –  Princeton NJSeptember 30, 2018
el augmento de nivel de ingles en los paises de origin, el recorte en las becas de Arabia Saudita y poca flexibilidad en productos y servicios es el reto para ELS
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4.0
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Great place to work, friendly environment and staff
Associate ESL Instructor (Former Employee) –  New Haven, CTMay 29, 2018
Working at ELS has been a great experience for me.
The Academic Director, Colleagues and staff were friendly.
Students were respectful and I loved my job at ELS
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5.0
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Great place to work
English Instructor (Current Employee) –  San Rafael, CAMay 14, 2018
A great place to work. Great benefits, students, and staff. I highly recommend it. We were like one big happy family. It was a very professional work environment.
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1.0
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Terrible place to work
Associate Instructor (Former Employee) –  Chicago, ILApril 1, 2018
This is an absolutely terrible place to work. There are basic educational issues in almost every aspect of teaching and learning at this company. It is, by the way, first and foremost a company, so management and corporate prioritize the students (and their demands) to the detriment of the teachers. Apart from having an inconsistent and unclear educational philosophy, the company has outrageous demands for teachers and offers below-market salaries; there are decent benefits, but it is very difficult to get AND keep them as eligibility is based on hours-worked/working. (Hours working is based on a company-created hierarchy and student enrollment.)

The company has 13 four week sessions a year, which means there are absolutely no scheduled breaks other than a holiday off once in a while (i.e. Christmas day, Good Friday, etc.) This is onerous for students and teachers alike especially during December when only Christmas day and New Year's day are off. Furthermore, it is an intensive English program that does not provide any paid time for prep or grading. It is utterly exhausting to teach even part-time here. The company does provide lesson plans for some of its courses, but they are unclear, boring, and often place unrealistic demands on teachers. Similarly, the core content is all created by the company from a selection of Pearson materials resulting in a disjointed and unconnected curricula resembling Frankenstein's monster. The curricula is frequently irrelevant to students needs with ambiguous and ridiculous objectives (the most egregious example being, "SWBAT show concern
  more... for wild animals.") The curricula is content-based, but the content is dull and often outdated, ex. teaching phrases/vocabulary that are not used anymore. The content is just utterly terrible; I can't adequately describe how awful it is.

Furthermore, teachers are expected to plan lessons, grade assignments, create quizzes/tests, and attend extra-curricular events, and even in-services without being paid. (The in-services are during lunch, so the company will buy everyone lunch. This is great because I pay my bills in sandwiches.) When I teach the full 30 hours per week I usually spend an additional 10-20 on prep, grading, etc. All of that prep time is unpaid but expected. The hourly rate (in the mid-west: $24 if you have a master's degree, $17 if you are ESL certified) very quickly becomes less than minimum wage when you calculate how much time you actually spend working. Of course, as a teacher, some unpaid prepping is to be expected, but the extent of unpaid work-time ELS forces on its teachers is appalling, degrading, and exploitative.

There are so, so many other issues at ELS from the lack of connection corporate has to its centers to the fact that the company is losing money and closing centers left and right, but the most intolerable aspects of it are that it overcharges students for classes that don't meet their needs, and it exploits its teachers.
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Pros
Benefits if you can get and maintain them, it counts as experience when looking for other jobs
Cons
Pretty much all of it
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1.0
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Slow paced job that cuts your job on a salaried pay
International Student Advisor (Former Employee) –  FloridaNovember 28, 2017
After just two months as a SALARIED employee, I was told I would have to take leave in order to "free" up office hours because I was "lowest on the totem pole". I was told I could choose to use my vacation days to not lose pay. Worked for a woman who literally yelled at me about calling in sick telling me that it was "irresponsible" and that I shouldn't ask for help when I got back as I chose to call out. Save yourself the trouble and don't do this to yourself.
Pros
slow, can do what you want
Cons
bad management, cut hours on salary
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4.0
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Productive
Billing Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Princeton, NJOctober 12, 2017
I have very productive days and always meet my deadlines. The workplace is very nice and everyone gets along. The most enjoyable part of the job is making the students and clients happy.
Pros
paid time off
Cons
no raise
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3.0
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Interesting curriculum, cultural diversity
English Language Instructor (Current Employee) –  Cupertino, CASeptember 14, 2017
Although the company provides detailed teaching materials, the compensation is low. It is interesting to see students' impressive development and support their progress in English language.
Pros
good teacher's manuals
Cons
unstable working hours, low coverage
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5.0
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Good experience
Volunteer (Former Employee) –  West Haven, CTSeptember 5, 2017
I enjoyed working with the students from the school. They were very kind and came from all different backgrounds. While not only helping improve their English and understanding of American culture, I learned a great deal about the world as well.
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2.0
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Students were fun; people were nice, but
Teacher (Former Employee) –  Myrtle Beach, SCJune 12, 2017
If you are concerned about how students respond to the course work and how teachers use this restrictive curriculum, ask to observe some classes before you teach. A part of the philosophy is that you are no longer a teacher but a curriculum server and you use the notebooks with the lessons and the rubrics that are supplied. If students fail a course, tough, they take it again (pay for the course, the housing, food, transportation, etc). Many if not all the teachers are part-time; no way to move up the ladder.
Pros
Pleasant people
Cons
restrictive environment
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Unqualified Managers/Books Contain Grammar Mistakes
Faculty Assistant (Former Employee) –  Garden City, NYMay 20, 2017
This company hires unqualified "instructors" and managers. Their books have mistakes which students find awkward. Managers are racist, It is a money-making machine, there is no academia culture. ELS registers minors, when their books contain topics that are over the children's heads. This company should be held to a higher standard because it makes America look like a souk.
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Undermining TESOL
Teacher (Former Employee) –  Johnson City, TNJanuary 11, 2017
ELS pays very low, about $17-25 per hour, BA only required, so this coorporation is taking away jobs from those with a TESOL MA. Third tier ESL program at ELS, where unwitting international students end up. Universities should not hire out this important job to ELS company who gets loads of revenue and undermines the profession. At best a stepping stone to something better. Be prepared to act subservient and be dismissed for being more professional than your supervisor. I was not told why I was dismissed, but I think I was dismissed for pointing out that the entire department was waiting for their reading tests to be distributed while the director talked to a student. I msy have made her look bad, but I was just trying to be helpful. She did me a favor as I am too good for this ESL franchise. Worst ESL position I have ever held out of 9 total.
Pros
Students learn regardless of inferior system.
Cons
No technology resources. In-house publications
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The worst job I've had in my life
Instructional Specialist (Current Employee) –  Company WideApril 12, 2016
As they love to shove down your throat, this is "a business." That means income first ("students") and you dead last. In a conflict with students, the same order follows--don't expect to be supported...ever.

The company runs a 4-week schedule of 6 class hours year-round with no breaks.The pace is intense--you are constantly inundated with paperwork: developing materials, reading essays, creating and marking assessments, managing grades and so on. It's exhausting and never-ending.

As for technology, this company is a backwater. Excel and email are the limits of their abilities. While there is database automation for student payments (remember--it's a business), resources for the teachers, especially digital resources, are amazingly primitive and limited. Regardless, teachers are expected to run "digital classrooms" when most often all they'll get is a CD player and a whiteboard (so be prepared to bring in your personal computer assets).

The company is bleeding market share. If there's work, you work like a slave. If there's no work, you're unemployed. Management is infallible and demands unquestioning obedience. Upper management is arrogant and severely detached from day-to-day teaching. Teachers are modular: they are expected to be able to teach anything at any level at any moment, regardless of experience or background. Favoritism is rampant. If you're on the inside, you're golden. If you're not, you're not getting classes. Seniority is meaningless. Priority is determined with more attention to student reviews (judged largely by popularity, attractiveness and grade
  more... inflation) than to experience or skill.

Teachers are under severe scrutiny to follow company policy--rules which the management will alter, contort, skew, bend, break or ignore at a whim. Further, policy and methodology are in a constant state of "improvement." There is no stability and worse, trying to enforce these half-thought out rules is the perfect way to alienate your students (and thus lower your performance scores and thus reduce your teaching hours).

STAY AWAY.
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Pros
Ha!
Cons
High expectations. Long hours. Low-to-middling pay. No future.
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2.0
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Not my cup of tea when it came to work environment
Temporary Position - Billing Clerk (Former Employee) –  Princeton, NJApril 11, 2016
It just was not a fun place to work overall. I was on a temporary one month contract, and after completing my one month there was no interest in hiring me for a full time position.
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Overall rating

3.0
Based on 28 reviews
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3.2Work/Life Balance
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2.5Personal Development

3.2Career Opportunities

2.7Family Support

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