Dave’s ESL Cafe Review [Warning: Is it Legit?]

Dave’s ESL Cafe was a place where ESL teachers could go to share their experiences teaching and traveling abroad. The forum was very active and became a great community for teachers in the past. But now, it is not quite so popular.

So what happened?

Dave’s ESL Cafe also has a jobs board where schools can post their requests for teachers. The foreign schools would post requests from far and wide.

The problem was that the schools were not checked before approval, and many teachers were subjected to scams.

ESL teachers were hushed when this happened, and they reported being banned from the site when they complained about the problem on Dave’s ESL Cafe forum.

daves esl cafe complaints 1
A typical answer snippet from Reddit about Dave’s ESL Cafe.

Shady Recruitment Practices?

According to various forums like Reddit and TEFL.net, users claim that they could get a temporary or even permanent ban based on what they wrote in the popular forum.

They claimed that teachers got banned for requesting the removal of certain schools, spam accounts, or any other controversial or negative post that might harm the site’s reputation.

If the teacher had a negative experience with an employer and wrote a post about it on the forum, they were also banned.

Basically, the money from adverts seemed more important than the teachers getting scammed.

Dave’s ESL Cafe Today

Despite the bad press Dave’s ESL cafe received from forums like Reddit, it seems as though Dave’s ESL Cafe is still visible and working with schools and agencies abroad.

Teachers must be careful and vigilant at all times when applying for a job in another country, as a so-called “school” could scam teachers.

Rather than trusting the website the job is advertised on, teachers should do their research about the specific school.

Pros of Dave’s ESL Cafe

Here are some things to check out on Dave’s ESL Cafe and how it can benefit an ESL teacher.

1. Post Your Resume Free

Teachers can post their resumes for free on the site, and schools can contact prospects whom they believe would be good teachers for their school.

2. Job Sections

The job lists are divided into categories so that teachers can find the right job they are looking for. For example, there is a jobs board for China and a separate jobs board for Korea.

3. Teacher Resources

Teachers can find some activities and tips relating to teaching grammar, quizzes, phrasal verbs, slang, and teaching privately.

4. Advertisements

If you are an ESL school or recruiter, this could be an excellent place to advertise and find high-quality candidates for the job position.

Dave's ESL Cafe Ad Pricing

Cons of Dave’s ESL Cafe

Some things to avoid or be careful of when browsing ESL Cafe:

1. Dead Forum

The forum, which was once very popular among ESL teachers, has become outdated and died. It seems like the best places to share opinions with other ESL teachers now are on sites like Facebook and Reddit.

2. Disorganized Teacher Lesson Plans

While the teaching lesson plan ideas seem useful, there is no organization to them, and it might be quite hard to find what you are looking for.

The titles aren’t always a good indication of what the lessons are about, so you won’t know the lesson until you read the entire plan. So it’s a bit of a time-waster.

3. Scams

Keep a watchful eye for scams when accepting job offers. I will talk more about spotting and avoiding these scam jobs.

Alternatives to Daves ESL Cafe

While Dave’s ESL Cafe is still an okay place to find a job post, be careful to find out more about the ESL school or company before you trust taking a job there.

If you want an online teaching job, you can check our online jobs to find more information about the most popular online ESL companies.

You can find plenty of jobs for teaching English abroad on Facebook groups and national and international job boards.

If you know of a particularly reputable ESL job site worth sharing, let me know in the comments section below! See our recommended job boards.

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How ESL Teachers Can Spot a Scam

ESL teachers need to be aware of several kinds of scams so they don’t fall into a trap when applying for a school on sites like Dave’s ESL Cafe.

  • Advanced Fee Scam: the teachers must pay fees for the teaching position, such as background checks or application costs. This means there is likely no job, and they are just trying to get money from you.
  • Data Theft Scam: the scammers take copies of your photos, passport, resume, and other personal materials to send to someone else. They might demand the teacher pay a ransom to stop the crime.
  • The Fake Cheque Scam: the employer sends the teachers a fake cheque. The bank puts the money into the teacher’s account before checking the legitimacy of the cheque. The scammer will tell the teacher that they overpaid them and ask the teacher to pay them back. The money is taken from the teacher’s account when the bank finds out it is a scam.
ESL Scams

How ESL Teachers Can Avoid a Scam

ESL teachers can avoid a scam by making sure they:

1. Do Research

If you want to move to a country abroad, find out about the typical salary, working requirements, and visa requirements.

If the job opportunity presented sounds too good to be true, for example, they pay double the salary for half of the hours worked, or they don’t care that you don’t have a degree when a degree is usually required to teach in that country, then it could be a scam.

2. Find Out The Employer’s Name

Many of the schools have recruiters who find the teachers for them. The applicant should still be able to find the employer’s name, e-mail, and other personal details.

When you find the employer’s name, do a quick search on Google to find more information about the school.

Some schools are blacklisted, and information about the scam school will come up when researched.

You can also search telephone numbers and e-mail addresses on Google to find more information.

3. Make Sure the E-mail Address of the Contacter Matches the School

Make sure the person from the e-mail address contacting you works for the school. They might have an email address like [name]@theschoolsname.com. You can check the list of e-mail addresses on the school website to ensure they match.

4. Get an Interview

The school should be interested in arranging an interview with the applicant to ensure they are a good candidate for the job position. If they do not ask for an interview, that is a big red flag.

5. Avoid Upfront Payments

Some programs require the teacher to pay a fee to join, but teachers usually do not have to send a large amount of money before they arrive in the country.

This means the teacher should not have to send money for plane tickets, visas, security deposits, or anything else suspicious.

Usually, schools will reimburse flights after teachers have made it to the school, so be careful where you put your money and avoid any school with these suspicious fees.

6. Ask for References

Teachers can even ask to get in touch with current teachers in the school who can advise them about the working conditions and expectations when applying to the school.

The school should give teachers the contact information of someone already working in the school, and if they can’t, that is another red flag.

In Conclusion

As ESL teachers, we must work together to protect each other and prevent the widespread scams that grip our job boards and the industry as a whole! Stay informed, research, and help each other out so that teachers can move abroad safely, and with peace of mind!

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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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Jason Williams
Jason Williams
2 years ago

Dave’s ESL cafe died due to heavy handed moderation. There were several incidents leading up to this not the least of which was the shutdown of the competing site English Spectrum over the backlash from Koreans over the thread “How to molest your students”, which was in fact a gag post written by a Korean American but nonetheless was received badly in the press. Shortly thereafter Dave, fearing retaliation for similarly tasteless topics of conversation regarding Korean women etc, began heavy handed moderation. In the end you could be banned for just about anything but it seemed that Dave was one of the first pioneers of what today we would call “woke” administrative policies. I had a cyber spat with a lady who used to work at my school and she revealed detailed contact information about me on the site. I complained to the moderators about this seeing how it was listed as a “no-no” but I was promptly banned and the lady still freely posting on the site despite that revealing personal information about other posters was considered an infraction. Most of the more sought after posters were banned for one reason or another and the site just died.

2 years ago

Wow guys this is an eye opener. I really appreciate the time you took to write this. It helped me a lot to be careful when looking for a legit job.

1 year ago

hi, i was working 10 years in china. i know a bit how to find jobs in asia. i didnt needed dave esl because in china was so easy find a job in any esl job website at that time. i dont want use organization to find me a job, no buffers, i go through the chinese agent or just the school direct.

dave esl is the best without going through a teaching agent organization website, they give some jobs goes straight from those asian ladies teaching agents close to the schools.

for the cautious people that never taught in the world, u should go through safer websites, that got websites multiple buffers, 3 levels of agents, 10 kinds of diplomas, then u will give up and stay where u are.


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