ELS Educational Services Employee Reviews

2.9
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Based on 15 reviews
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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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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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1.0
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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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1.0
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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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1.0
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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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5.0
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Fun, exciting workplace
IELTS Administrator (Former Employee) –  Pittsburgh, PANovember 6, 2015
Great supervisors, fun supportive coworkers. Educational environment. Able to teach and assist in the learning process on young adults.
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4.0
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Productive, fun, and extreamly diverce work place
Enrollment Coordinator (Former Employee) –  Princeton, NJOctober 5, 2015
Loved my co-workers, many from different parts of the world. Friendly work environment with enthusiastic friendly people.
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5.0
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Great hours and flexible
IELTS Invigilator (Former Employee) –  Santa Monica, CAJuly 28, 2014
Collect test takers' belongings as they check in, arrange by ticket numbers. Managed greatly by the admin in charge of the location. Get to meet a lot of people from other countries. When invigilating there are times that you will have to deal with students who tries to challenge authority.
Pros
Long hours, flexible schedule, great work atmosphere
Cons
Short breaks, parking always by meter or structure
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