As Director of Studies of EF Yuyao from April 2005-June 2007, I was very surprised to read the complaints made against the school in the afore message. Consequently, I would like to make the following comments based on my own experiences at the school.
Firstly, during my time as DOS, I worked very closely with the managers and know that they always followed EF policies with regards to contracts, flight/visa reimbursements, job descriptions, codes of conduct and disciplinary procedures. In fact, copies of these documents were always given to new teachers to read and sign.
Secondly, if I remember rightly, in accordance with EF policy disciplinary procedures are enforced if a teacher breaches the code of conduct, this includes lateness for class. A verbal or written warning is given depending on the severity of the breach.
Thirdly, I consider it extremely unlikely that the managers were deliberately hiring and firing teachers to avoid reimbursing visa and flight expenses. Having recruited for EF Yuyao, I know for a fact that finding suitable teachers is not always easy especially during the school’s busiest time, the summer. Therefore, losing teachers before the end of his or her contract would cause a lot of inconvenience and is hence best avoided.
Fourthly, I imagine that the Academic Operations Manager’s visit to the school would have been a purely routine one. AOM’s are required to visit all EF centres once a year if possible and during their visit, classroom observations are conducted.
Finally, I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my 2 years at EF Yuyao, and I was certainly not the only foreign teacher to stay for more than 1 year. The managers were always kind, helpful, considerate and reasonable if problems arose. We were well-looked after and given plenty of pastoral care, something which is lacking in many language schools all over the world. The school was also very well-resourced as the managers encouraged professional development and believed in high quality teaching.
I would recommend EF Yuyao to anyone interested in teaching in China, and in developing as a teacher.
Stephanie Lo, ex Director of Studies, EF English First Yuyao.