I disagree with your notion that the Orthodox Church is the only true church. I have never dismissed it as being part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church - but I would not isolate it and therefore excommunicate every other believing church as apostate.
You can't excommunicate those who were never in communion to begin with! But there is no historical precedent for heretics such as gnostics, arians, bogamalists, etc as taking part in say, an ecumenical council of the church. They are not part of the church. Now even in the case of those churches that are not outright identified as heretical, but maybe "heterodox", they are still not in communion with The Orthodox Church. We don't know them. They aren't really with us. Depending on how a baptism was performed, a heterodox Christian could become an Orthodox with their baptism respected. I was not baptized Orthodox, but the church recognized my baptism because it was done properly.
Many of these heterodox churches teach things that are contrary to what Orthodoxy teaches. A lot of this stuff was even inherited from Roman Catholicism because western Christianity descends from that. It would be wrong to say that it doesn't make a difference. I believe that the ceaseless schisms of the western churches is an evidence that there is something foundationally corrupted.
The church doesn't really make judgement calls on who is or isn't saved. God knows the hearts of all. I am sure that the grace and mercy of God extends greater than any of us know.
But the Church descended from Jesus and the apostles is The Orthodox Church.
It is my understanding that the Orthodox church also focuses on works as a means of salvation
The Orthodox doesn't really have a faith/works dichotomy. They are seen as being practically one in the same. We are definitely not pietists or legalists. We do see salvation as a lifelong process. "Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God" Jesus said. The struggle is in purifying the heart and maintaining that purity of heart. So it isn't a "once saved, always saved" type of thing. If you have faith, you will work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. It isn't that our works save us either! Faith and works. The use of our freewill to cooperate with God rather than fight God. A Christian should strive to be a paragon of mercy and truth. It isn't an inactive faith.
(The Orthodox Church) places tradition - just like the roman catholic church does above the authority of the scriptures.
To say The Orthodox places tradition over scriptures is also not entirely correct. Scripture is an integral part of Church Tradition. The Roman Church does not actually respect Church Tradition as the highest authority, they respect The Pope as the authority over scripture and Church Tradition. That is also historically one of the reasons they aren't Orthodox anymore, nor have they been for over a thousand years.
Scripture is very important to The Orthodox Church, and even though we are not sola scriptura, I would argue that we actually show greater reverence for scripture than other churches without commiting the sin of biblialatry.
Although it does not have a supreme bishop, it does have patriarchs, much in the role of the Anglican Canterbury bishop - first among equals.
It is how the church has always been structured. One corrupt bishop cannot pervert the entire church. It is a system that has allowed the church to survive intact even under strong persecution.
One of my mentors currently is a lecturer in Russia teaching in an Orthodox seminary. I like some of its rituals - some of its traditions - some of its teaching. But there are other aspects I disagree with - and perhaps you in your teaching role - may well be able to explain these better than some of your other teachers. who knows?
I would hope God grants me the grace.