Make sure you do your research. Google HESS, go on reddit, Glassdoor and don’t just shrug off the bad reviews as disgruntled ex employees - take the reviews as a warning to pick a different school... I wish I did instead of dismissing them.
They have no regard for the safety of their teachers and place foreign English teachers into bilingual preschools which are against the law in Taiwan. They fail to ever mention that until you are already over there and only tell you on your last day of training an hour before signing your contract. They shrug it off as no big deal and compare it to “j walking” but they have safety measures in place if a police raid were to occur like a bird chirping on the loudspeaker or a secret escape door in your classroom. Marijuana is against the law and punishable by jail time and so is giving someone the finger or honking your horn at someone...so imagine the consequences of being caught teaching English in a preschool.
Their entire website sells you on the experience of Taiwan, but they spend very little time on the actual job...which you will be spending most of your time at as there are plenty of unpaid hours and prep work that you need to do to get ready for your class: science experiments, arts and crafts, grading or graduation plays you have to choreograph. If you think it will be a nice balance of exploring Taiwan and working...think again.
Oh and just because you drop everything and fly over for their training doesn’t necessarily mean you are guaranteed a job. You will first need to pass their boot camp style teacher training where they watch and report your every move. Every note you write, every sneeze you make, every hand you raise or question you answer is being watched and monitored through a two way mirror or camera throughout every corner of their main office. If they don’t like you, you get cut and sent packing...
If you are comfortable with all of the above perhaps you might be able to stomach the psychological and physical abuse that you witness your Taiwan co-teachers administering to your students during your classes. Dragging kids, hitting kids, screaming and name calling are just a few tactics they use on students. On my last day of work a 4 year old peed his pants and the co-teacher made him take all of his clothes off and walk the hall from the bathroom to the class completely naked naked as other children watched and the co-teacher laughed and pointed.
HESS is aware of how awful they are and the horrible reviews that are out there, in fact they removed all reviews on their Facebook page after I left this one on there. They are desperate for unsuspecting foreigners to come and join them to fill their high turnover positions. They are desperate to keep new teachers from leaving by offering ‘start up loans’ and enslaving foreigners in exchange for their passport until the debt is paid off. They bribe current teachers to get friends to move over and work for them. If you are absolutely miserable and want to leave you have to pay $20,000 NTD to break your contract. They know new teachers coming over read the horrible reviews, but hope they don’t believe them. Please believe them. Save yourself the money, time and frustration...pick a different school.