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BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 14 Feb 2018, 04:16
by clyde532
BEWARE: DAVE'S ESL CAFE...Dave only has Dave's interests in mind, which is appeasing countries that pay him to advertise. He does NOT care about the suffering that teachers experience in some of these schools. He will delete truthful posts, which teachers have poured their heart and soul into writings about horrible schools. He could care less about them. What is the point of having a 'teacher's forum'?! Has anyone had similar experiences?

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 16 Feb 2018, 11:02
by ebubble

That is true! Recently the casualty of an recruitment campaign for KSA done through Dave's ESL Cafe. They practically 'urged' me to come to Saudi quickly and you know how costly it can be to come to this country. It is now 12 days and I am still waiting for a job. In my case, I have a base as I have worked here in the past. That worked against me though. I had too much confidence. But now I have a bit of leverage to be seen if I can force the local EFL recruiter to come up with a job for me. As Dave's ESL Cafe, in the past I always was 'lucky' I'd say. Following this event, I wrote to join his forum and make people aware about this situation that has been going on for a while. Casual and non-transparent recruitment campaign with Gulf countries, where you think you are matched to a job, but they only match you after you arrive. The local recruiters work with different clients. This inevitably causes some bottleneck and casualties. This is how these recruitment agencies work across continents and do business. We EFL teachers are just commodities to them.

And what is it to say that the situation in the EU or other places is any better? Most of the problems with EFL are that the majority of teachers are young travellers who are happy to 'hitchhike' so to speak. If you look at the adverts in many other countries you will often come across the word 'freelance' referring that you as an EFL teacher can be employed as a freelancer, which means they can give you as little or as much work as it pleases them and that there are little or hardly any contractual rights other than hours spent in the classroom in most cases. And, they practically force you to do the extra work which is 'required' (report-writing, marking, lesson prep, etc) for free!

I tried this, became anorexic and anemic, couldn't work and fell into a trap! excellent!! this why I have sought a forum to start an imminently important discussion. There is no survival guide out there or salvation NGO or what, to come and pull you out once you fall into any of these down-turning spirals. There are just you buddie teachers if you have any wherever you are. There are many EFL professional profiles on Linked In frozen in time for years of people that I never ever had any news about or come across in social circles. People say so and so still works at... but I know they haven't been there since 20xx. Supposedly, the last word was,, she went on a trip around the world... or what other story was out. The days are counted for all those agencies regardless of what we do. Simply because they cost too much for the client.

Well, on the brighter side, the thought that occurred to me is that if our future is a 'free-lancer' one then, we need to take more control over our work domain and the only way to do that is to diversify our skills. This covers for the fact that there is hardly going to be any future in any profession without any tech- or digital skills. So, I am going to start a discussion on 'mapping the future of survival in EFL' as I think that only by hearing from others out there can we realistically find our survival path and place in the 'digital free-lance' era.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 22 Nov 2018, 12:45
by TheNightBeak
clyde532 wrote: 14 Feb 2018, 04:16 BEWARE: DAVE'S ESL CAFE...Dave only has Dave's interests in mind, which is appeasing countries that pay him to advertise. He does NOT care about the suffering that teachers experience in some of these schools. He will delete truthful posts, which teachers have poured their heart and soul into writings about horrible schools. He could care less about them. What is the point of having a 'teacher's forum'?! Has anyone had similar experiences?
Oh yeah.

They have the most overzealous moderators of any forum - banning people forever for using swear words or saying anything negative about any teaching institution.


Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 18 Jan 2019, 07:57
by Mel1959
Beware seems a bit strong, perhaps wary is better word for the precautionary tales of traversing the TEFL world and its many teaching job from hell. In any event, Dave is a perfect example of what happens to us—all of us—as we get older but not necessarily wiser as human beings on planet earth in the early 21st century of the anno Domini era. What I'm writing about here is the simple brilliance and purity of Dave's idea was at the beginning, when he first got started, when his mind was freer and purer from the soul-sucking clutches of modern internet commerce. What he did was what about what any one of us would do if we ever came up with an idea as singularly cutting edge and ground breaking as his was. He sold out. He cashed-in his neoteric brand at the entrepreneurs' bank laughing all the way. In a word, he cleaned out the TEFL tank long before any other big sharks got there! And now that he's a shark, it no longer matters if he cares about any of the so-called teachers getting burned by the negative flames of his thriving enterprise. When you're at the top of the food chain, and your well-known first name flies as high and wide as your famous flagship brand, well, you're basically prone to forgetting about the little guys fighting for scraps at the bottom of the TEFL sea. Did he ever care about the mission statement? Probably. But Dave has grown up, and over the years he has grown increasingly more powerful in the business he and a handful of others got started. Like the new film Bigger, about two brothers who became publishing moguls and business titans of the muscle and fitness world, Dave and his elephantine ESL Cafe are just just too big for most of the badmouthing to bother him and more importantly, to ever bring his money-minting lounge down. Sure, we can complain about him. Yes, we can write posts about what a schmuck he is for allowing his business interests to hurt or harm some of the schmoes clamoring for a slice of his ESL pie. But it's just business, and we all know how the rest of the saying goes.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 23 Feb 2019, 12:59
by tanya_tanya
Hi! There's this site called ESL List geared on english school reviews and there were good and not so good reviews in there so that's good to know. I think they have recruiters there too. So far, I think they're the only site for reviews of english schools aside from forums I see online. Check them at

As for Dave's site, I agree that the intention to help was there but as they go on about the business, once money comes in, sometimes the interests in mind changes which is sad but well, reality kicks in.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 31 Aug 2019, 15:19
by Sylvsvdb
This is the biggest scam ever. I was nearly caught by some scumbags pretending to be from a school in UAE. I became suspicious when they asked me to pay 5000 AED upfront. They interview and say the camera on Skype does not working etc....

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 06 Feb 2020, 14:02
by dsvparis
There is so much good info and so many resources on this site I’d just avoid the job postings or vet them carefully.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 20 Feb 2020, 01:56
All I can add to this discussion is a cut and paste of an email with the email chain I sent Dave after I was scammed when I applied for a teaching position in Spain and the absolute radio silence from his side is and was quite disturbing.

For those of you who haven't experienced a bout of scamming I must confess it was quite embarrassing to be sucked into a almost bottomless money grabbing pit and even more so as I have been traveling for better part of my adult life.

I should have seen the first red flag a mile away when I had my first "interaction" via skype on my laptop with the scammers because there was no face from their side even though I asked so glib and eel like they are and if I had seen a face I would have bolted because it would have been Senegalese as I later discovered.

Besides Dave you folk are are the first I am telling this story to as I still feel so stupid to have fallen for this scam.

Anyways just be awake vigilant and trust now one.

FW: English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and much more teachers are urgently needed in Alicante, Spain.

maaliq mitchell <>

12/13/2019 7:22 PM

To: Cc:;;

Dear Dave,

This is an urgent message please see below, as I have been scammed by a post that was posted on your site, I lost a bit of money but I fear for others.



sent from a device on the flipside in a neon called bela lugosi is dead

From: maaliq mitchell <>
Sent: Monday, November 25, 2019 5:26:41 PM
To: <>
Subject: RE: English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and much more teachers are urgently needed in Alicante, Spain.

Dear Mr. Quereda Leguey,

Thank you for your prompt reply regards my wish to work with you and your esteemed language school, much appreciated.

I look forward to our conversation via skype and please if you can, schedule the call for this coming Thursday or Friday as I am free on those days.

Once a again thank you.

Yours Sincerely


sent from a device on the flipside in a neon called bela lugosi is dead

From: <>
Sent: Sunday, November 24, 2019 4:04:38 AM
To: <>
Subject: Re: English, German, French, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Dutch and much more teachers are urgently needed in Alicante, Spain.

Full job details below.

Job location: Alicante, Spain.
Start date: January, 2020.
Job duration: 1 year Contract and extendable.

The Berlingua Language Center is your best option to learn languages in the city of Alicante.

We are located in the center of the city, well connected with Bus and 100 meters from the Market parking.

We have spacious and bright classrooms, fully equipped, conditioned and heated, that offer you the perfect environment to learn the language you choose.
We also have the best qualified and specialized teachers that will enable you, depending on your needs, to learn the language more easily than you imagine.
We work with a direct teaching methodology that will allow you to acquire progressively and from the first moment that verbal fluency that you so desire.
We teach classes in small groups (maximum 5 to 6 students), which helps teachers to focus on the needs of the student and therefore offer you much more time to practice the language and interact with it.

Teaching hours of 25 hours per week (5 hours Daily)
Monday to Friday classes
Administer tests, analyse the data, place the student in proper program
Notify parents of results and placement and make sure they have access to all information
Collaborate with other teachers about lesson plans, cultural sensitivity, and diverse resources
Help to create a whole school atmosphere where diverse cultures are welcomes and explored to enhance the learning of all students.

Salary: €2,300 - €2,600/monthly (After Tax) depend on your qualification and level.
Free private accommodation provided by the School
100% traveling expenses paid (Reimburse on arrival)
€2,300 Severance pay at the end of each contract
Two (2) weeks of holidays including all national holidays and one (1) months during summer (paid at 50% with no housing allowance)
Work visa assistance
100% Medical insurance
Feeding allowance.
Orientation on arrival
Free weekly Spanish lessons
20€ per hour for over-time work.

About us
Berlingua was originally founded as a Language Center in 1961. It is, therefore, the oldest Language Academy in Alicante.

Today, after collecting the most current needs of society but without departing from its successful trajectory, Berlingua is organized as follows:

Berlingua language center
We are a modern and welcoming Academy of Languages , approved and adequately prepared to teach any language dynamically, so that you can learn it correctly and fluently from its base, interacting with the teacher or the teacher and developing all four language skills equally (oral expression, written expression, listening comprehension and reading comprehension).

We have a highly qualified , qualified, native and very vocational teaching staff that, together with the direct methodology and the small groups we work with (maximum 5 to 6 students), will motivate you and allow you to learn the language you want in record time .

Our classrooms are bright, comfortable, spacious, welcoming and equipped with the necessary means to learn languages.

We teach all kinds of languages: from the most common ones such as English , German , French , Italian , Valencian and Spanish for foreigners , to others that are less like Portuguese , Russian , Arabic , Chinese , Japanese , Dutch and much more.

We have worked and work with both private students and companies from different sectors (banking, automotive, new technologies, industry, transportation, commerce, offices and offices, etc.), Public Entities, University, Professional Colleges, Organizations, Valencian Government.

We prepare all kinds of Official, University and EOI exams. We have translations and interpreters service.

Berlingua Business Center
Responding to the initiatives of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs and professionals from many sectors, our Business Center will allow you to develop or complement your professional or business activity, in a spacious, comfortable, very complete and well equipped and equipped facilities, enabling you to save both costs and increase services, while giving a corporate image that will benefit you when closing operations or loyalty.

Our Business Center has services for the development of a prolonged professional or business activity such as office rental or coworking area (with call reception service, address for cards or web pages, mail and parcel reception, concierge, etc. ), as for specific actions in its development (rental of meeting rooms, presentations, classrooms, etc.)

Berlingua Leisure Center
In parallel to new technologies in terms of personal relationships so demanded in our current society, our Leisure Center offers you a direct, fun and innovative way to interact with people from your city and surroundings: speeddating .

Note: Your application received. We will update you within 24 hours with our Skype interview date.

Berlingua Languages
Mr. Quereda Leguey
Plaza de los Hermanos Pascual, 3
03004 · Alicante.
Phone: +34 926 18 00 10
Fax: 965 20 07 57

Beware... Beware

Posted: 29 Feb 2020, 15:04
by jw34
I don't know anything about Dave's ESL Café.

But I was quite surprised when I was scammed by a job advert on another well-known TEFL site. I sent them details of the scam. They asked me to send them a copy of the (dodgy) contract which I did. I assumed this meant they were taking the matter seriously. But then they just found some phrase in the contract and said "Oh so this means it is all your fault". It was obvious that asking for the contract was some kind of a ruse to make it look like they took the matter seriously when in fact they had no intention of doing so.

No doubt they are right to point to their disclaimer - that people should exercise their own due diligence etc. when replying to job ads. But I was basically surprised that even given clear evidence of the scam (e.g. the email trail) they simply stuck to their advertiser like a limpet; even when it was clear or at least very probable (from the evidence I provided and my explanation) that the school was operating outside the law and other people would probably suffer.

Still - probably a sad reflection on how many people put their business above other considerations. Such is the modern world. The sharks thrive and the minnows try to become like sharks. Maybe some try to become like whales. (That is; big and peaceful).

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 02 Apr 2020, 04:07
by Taizhou
I went to teach English at World International English in Taizhou, Zhejiang in China last year and the director lied to me during the interview. I told him that I don't work with children and he said it was a school for adults only and when I arrived, there were children running around everywhere. I wanted to kill the director on my first day there. The worst part was his attitude, completely unapologetic, I pulled a runner and left and I lost approximately $10,000 (ten thousand). Plane tickets, visa costs, apartment, etc. It wasn't enough for them, the director took "revenge" and blacklisted me and the recruiter sent me an email saying I would never again be able to get a work visa in China because I left the school without quitting properly. I told them the director lied to me during the interview but nobody cared. Unbelievably vindictive behaviour.

I once went to his office to confront him about this and the director took away most of my classes with children but still left one and said to me he couldn't get rid of it because the other teachers would complain about me getting preferential treatment. I told him it's his fault and he should explain to the other teachers that he told me his school was for adults only but he still didn't take away the class.

I've been trying to tell my story publicly to warn as many people as possible about this. I saw them posting on Dave's ESL Cafe looking for a replacement teacher (that's where I initially found the school) and I wrote to Dave's ESL Cafe telling them about this but they don't care either. They didn't reply to me and they didn't warn other potential teachers of the dangers of going to that school.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 10 Apr 2020, 14:34
by Romeo
Thanks for sharing. I have seen a few of these scams as well!! Very disheartening.
And I am not impressed with Dave's ESL Cafe for endorsing this garbage!!
Do be careful out there... it's more than a JUNGLE!

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 14 Apr 2020, 20:15
by John V55
Dave’s Café is notorious, but never used to be. I suspect that in competition with other recruiters he just let go and concentrated on the money. I mean the customer comes first and it’s the advertisers that pay him, not us. On any forum if you disagree with the money trail you’ll be got rid of very quickly.

There are two types of schools, government and private. The government ones will expect you to know what you’re doing and have the relevant qualifications and experience. You earn less, but they’re professionally run and have a reputation to keep.

The majority private ones, just like the people who choose them, are chasing the money and it’s where the vast majority of scams come from. Once you realize that it becomes a choice between job security and a half decent salary plus workload, or hoping the private schools will keep their promises, which is rare.

One thing you will rarely do is make a fantastic living out of teaching for private schools because you’re not meant to and both the owner and you should know that.

Dave doesn’t make money out of teachers, he makes money from the recruiters who advertise and in today’s world they pay his salary.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 22 Sep 2020, 07:18
by Dalton
Dave's is dead.

I joined that board 20 years ago. It was useful then. One could post or read warnings and advice about working in Korea. That seemed to be the reason the board flourished.

Then they banned those types of posts. Dave's ESL Cafe really had no other purpose in my mind. I have visited that board a couple of times since the pandemic began to read what other teachers might be saying about the current situation. It's dead.

I did a search to see if anything came up that might have caused it to die and found this board along with a blog arguing that their jobs board was problematic. Indeed I posted my resume there about three years ago and was spammed by Chinese recruiters for years after. I had specified in my resume title what countries I was looking for work in. I did not say China.

I have posted my resume on several sites. I have only been spammed from Dave's so far.

Twenty years ago it was a great place to visit for info and fun. I guess you gotta know your customers. They're the posters not the advertisers.

Re: 2021 Scam UPDATE: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 30 Jan 2021, 15:01
by Cricket
2021 UPDATED REVIEW OF : RUN don't walk! Over the past 10 years Dave's ESLCafe has gone from bad to worse since Dave S. turned over daily operation of his job boards to a handful of senior mods who are really the most unethical and greedy moonlighting TEFL job agents the world has ever known. Not only do they delete any comments and complaints users post about their many paying advertisers (black market TEFL and ESL schools) by angry and cheated teachers, but from known scam artists as well. In fact, if Hitler were alive today and wanted to hire "bi-lingual trainees need to murder Jews - Must speak fluent Yiddish", Dave would take the money and run the ad! As a result, has become the number 1 fishing grounds for identity thieves and are on every single ESL and TEFL blacklist at Reddit, Ruqqus, CFTU, CTA, China Scam Watch , CTA, and elsewhere as you can see in this sampling of links:

I had a major beef with Dave back in 2014 when I caught them selling my resume to resume brokers after I started getting a boat load of unsolicited sales calls and emails from TEFL course and job agents falsely claiming that they "apologize for the delayed response response, but they just go to my resume I sent them last month" when in fact I did not". Three months after that I had my identity stolen by someone who got a credit card in my name in China while I was teaching TEFL in Spain! I was able to clear it up but it was a tedious task. How do I know it was ESLCafe? Because I was working for the same school for 3 years and that was the first and only resume i sent out to an agent "highly recommended" by mod at eslcafe who sent me a PM. My roomie at a later job got burned in the same way at This is a very common thing and when I eventually got to China, I met no less than a dozen TEFL teachers that went through the same or similar ordeal as myself. So be careful guys, and stay away from ESLCafe and Echinacities.


Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 07 Feb 2021, 18:21
by Atlas
I cannot think of of more useless and dangerous and onerous ESL/TEFL forum. Anyone who disagrees with the 5 senior mods gets banned. Anyone who tells the the truth about salaries, TEFL courses or the scam artists that advertise there gets deleted and banned. (Sigh)

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 11 Feb 2021, 00:09
by TheNightBeak
Don't go there, don't click on links. Let them die slowly. It's what they deserve. There are plenty other sites that can help with jobs. Much better forums, too. :)

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 11 Feb 2021, 11:47
by John V55
TheNightBeak wrote: 11 Feb 2021, 00:09 Don't go there, don't click on links. Let them die slowly. It's what they deserve. There are plenty other sites that can help with jobs. Much better forums, too. :)
Excellent advice.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 26 Feb 2021, 09:01
by Vagabond
Finally, John and I are in total agreement. is a place to avoid like the plague.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 28 Feb 2021, 18:28
by Prometheus
I only had one experience with and it was bad one - about 3 years ago. I only asked a question there on their forum about contracts and how they violate labor laws and two moderators jumped down my throat trying to tell me "if you want a good job you just sign whatever contract they give you, and if you do a good job, you will get a better deal next year!"

I refused to agree and said that any contract in China that violates my employee rights to over-time and holiday/vacation pay, or charged more than one month's salary as a "placement fee" was illegal. Then they tried to say the "new law" changed all that, which was a blatant lie. I then posted a link to the then-current law to prove my point, and the bastards deleted the entire thread! When I then posted "Who deleted by post about Employee Rights in China, I was banned! WTF!?!. My sister then defended my position and posted this link and within 15 minutes that too was deleted! I knew then and there that ESLcafe was a den of vipers who need to hide the truth in order to sell users on job placements and tefl courses. IMO, they are a huge waste of cyberspace.

Re: BEWARE: Dave's ESL Cafe

Posted: 04 Mar 2021, 18:40
by Blue Moon
Thanks to the OP. I was just solicited by two users from for some shitty jobs and one of them is a mod who said I didn't need a degree or a work visa to teach in China if I was willing to pay him $3,000 for a "connection". Great timing. Thanks again!