Teach in Taiwan with HESS International Educational Group

Video and Photos

Taipei
Reifang
We brought christmas to Taiwan
Before you know it 12 years have passed and your first class is in high school...
We go on field trips bringing the classroom outside

About

BE MORE THAN A TEACHER. BE AN INSPIRATION!
Choose a career that opens up a world of new cultures, unique people, and wonderful travel opportunities.

ABOUT US:
Founded in 1983, HESS International Educational Group is the largest and most recognized private language school in Taiwan. We employ more than 600 native English-speaking teachers in 180+ HESS schools across Asia. Our staff has more than 30 years of experience looking after both new and experienced teachers just like you!

At HESS, you’ll work directly with a stable, well-established educational organization. We are not a recruitment agency, and we do not charge any fees. Take the first steps toward teaching English in Asia today!

Questions & Answers

Dear Julianne, sorry for the late response. Yes there is an age minimum. You have to be at least 18 years old. If you have any other questions you can contact us through info@promosaico.org. Kind regards, Katrin

Reviews

52%
based on 29 reviews
  • Benefits 5.2
  • Support 6
  • Fun 6.3
  • Facilities 5.6
  • Safety 7.4
  • Instruction 4.5
  • Support 2
  • Value 3
  • Academic Rigor 3
  • Job Assistance 2.5
Showing 1 - 8 of 29
Default avatar
Anon
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Pick a different school

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.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't sign up with HESS...pick a different school or a different country. Make sure to read all the reviews prior to signing up.
David Potgieter
David
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a Job, not a Holiday

I have read several reviews that criticize the unpaid work hours that you will have to put in. It is true, you will not be paid for a good portion of work hours spent preparing, grading or doing some minor chores. I'd like to stress that this is *typically* the case in virtually all teaching jobs, globally.

The pay per hour is more than fair. The benefits (health insurance being the flagship) that you will derive from holding a work permit are pretty much unrivaled. There are several *optional* sightseeing tours and events revolving around food that you will be treated to.

The experience of being thrust into a new cultural world is jarring and shocking for a time, but ultimately highly rewarding and character forming. Many reviewers here have highlighted the difficulty of the job not realizing that jobs are, generally speaking, tough. This is not meant to be a holiday, it is a job.

What would you improve about this program?
Many teachers who arrive in Taiwan to work for Hess are teaching for the very first time. For these teachers it would help if the reality of what it means to teach and facilitate children (many of whom are naturally highly unruly) was made very clear at the outset.
Default avatar
Sebastian
1/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Don't risk it - Avoid

Hess will give you a good training in the basics of esl teaching. They will.always pay you on time. The kids are great and some of the branch staff are friendly. They paid for taxi from the airport
Helped find an apartment, Good way to meet new people.

HESS takes advantage of foreign teachers in a weak position. You will spend more than half of your time doing completely unpaid work. The amount of extra "activities" are frankly absurd. You will only get one day off per week. Expect 50-60 hour work weeks but only 20-25 hours of pay. There are ZERO paid days off. None. And it is very difficult to get time off because you, the employee, will have to find your own subs.

HESS does not hesitate to use scare tactics to unsuspecting foreign teachers. For example, threatening to fire you to get a "better performance" (even if they have no intention of doing so). Keep in mind that getting fired also means losing your residence visa!
Last thing to say: HESS recruits entirely from abroad. This is because their reputation is so bad that NO teachers in Taiwan are willing to work them. None.

What would you improve about this program?
Be more transparent with incoming teachers, and more people would stay and complete their contracts.
Default avatar
Adam
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Former NST

I was a teacher at Hess for 1 year. I left because the CTs boss new NSTs around. There is a lot of unpaid work. And because of the larger number of teachers who quit you will be made to teach whatever classes they tell you to. You will be working 6 days a week and then have to grade homework, tests, quizzes and progress reports. All this is outside of your lessons and NOT paid.

If you teach kindy and then EFL/Treehouse you will be working 9am to 9pm. The kids are great and the material is good. They also say western management, in many cases the Head Chinese teacher HCT. Will be your manager not a Head Native Speaking Teacher, because nobody wants to do the job.

This causes problems and friction. Most of the time if there is an issue in class then they will side with the Chinese Teacher and not the foreign teacher.

The training that they are supposed to give to CTs (Chinese Teachers) is only for full time ones. All the part time teachers don't get this. And so many are aggressive to new NSTs, they will also interrupt teaching and undermined you in front of the students.

If you are looking for a job, they will offer one to you. The interview is easy and they need teachers, due to the high labor turnover.

What would you improve about this program?
Be consistent with your policies. Don't lie in training. The picture painted is not the reality. Also don't try and cover up the bad practices.
Jamie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the best time in Yong He

I know it's a while back, but I taught for four years 2006-2010 and had the best time. I'm from London and was 25 at the time. The training was great, the schools were fun and pay was good too. It was harder in the first 18 months, but once you get it, and settle, Taiwain and teaching is amazing. The school really encourages students to speak (and sing) as much as possible, and i found that by age 6 (post 3 years in Kindy) a lot were almost fluent. Such a great experience, that I look back on with such foundness.

What would you improve about this program?
it's great!
Default avatar
Tim
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great for Beginner Teachers!

Let's start with the positive/useful things about this job.
As someone who had never taught before, this was a valuable experience. The initial training was really good (although you learn a lot more as you actually teach, obviously). The syllabus and lesson plans are provided, so you don't have to stress too much about that. The lesson plans are quite rigid which is a good thing if you're new, but there's always room for your own creativity. Your co-teachers will generally be very supportive and patient as long as you listen to them and make the effort to improve. After a year or more, you'll feel really confident in teaching and would have gained valuable skills and experience which would allow you to qualify for higher-paying EFL jobs.

Now for the main irritations of working here.

Follow-up Training and Random Branch Training:
Quarterly trainings over the first year took place during my teaching hours, so I had to make up those lessons by doing double lessons or find a substitute which wasn't always possible. I ended up teaching for 9 hours solid because of that! Some of those trainings could have been replaced with a powerpoint presentation or video demonstration anyway- far cheaper and convenient.

Disappearing Colleagues and the $20000 Fine:
Some people find they don't like the job and want to leave within the first year. Although there is a 1 month notice period so Hess can find a replacement, these people leave suddenly. Why? Because there's a NT20 000 fine for leaving during your first year. If you leave suddenly, no one can trace you. Therefore they leave without notice, and you have to take your share of their hours. Some of us ended up with 36 teaching hours a week for several months!

Time-sheets:
You have to do quite a bit of clerical work like filling in your own time-sheets every month (wtf, can't they just use our updated schedules to see out how many hours we worked?). If you don't fill them out you won't get paid.

Materials for Crafts:
For kindergarten or holiday lessons, you need to order the materials for the arts and crafts. Even though you ask for it a week in advance, you only get the materials right before the lesson. How am I supposed to test/demo the craft in time? I got so fed up that I began buying the materials myself (they weren't expensive) and prepared at home during the weekend.

Hourly pay:
You will get paid by the hour without any paid leave whatsoever. If you can't teach for any reason, you won't get paid. Even if your class gets cancelled because of Chinese New Year/ natural disasters/you get hit by a car. That's stated in your contract, but it's annoying nonetheless.

Monthly Reports:
At the end of each month, you have to provide a report on the learning situation of your classes including your goals, objectives, concerns and ideas for improving those concerns. This just adds to the already heavy workload and responsibility.

Overall I enjoyed my experience here. The pay and support is great for a first timer. Co-workers are generally very supportive, some students will remain in your heart forever and the Taiwanese people are really kind and friendly. You can make good friends here. But learn to take criticism (you WILL be criticized, even in class! It took me a while to get used to that). You will have good and bad days just like with any job.

Good luck!

Patrick
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Realistic and working abroad in Asia

I have lived in Asia for the past 6 years, and I'm no stranger to culture shock. Every country is different. That being said- what are your goals, and why you are wanting to work abroad. As most people understand any job has its pros and cons. Now add cultural differences to the mix. I would consider myself to be level-headed and realistic. I have enjoyed my time with HESS and have gained a lot of experience as a teacher. Overall, I don't have any complaints about HESS. By biggest advice for people is to BE FLEXIBLE. If you find this to be difficult then you will have difficulty. I think it is important for you to know that you will not know your teaching location until the end of training- this was the most difficult thing for many of my co-trainees to get used to. Just remember, have faith in the system. The staff is actually looking out for your best interest. They will try their best to place you where you will succeed.
There was a big adjustment going from Taipei training conditions to my rural area, DaJia Taichung, but after a few weeks I seemed to adjust fine.
HESS tries their best to prepare you financially. Take their advice seriously. I brought with me 1000 USD and I took out the interest free of NT30000. I managed to survive alright by the time I received my first paycheck. REMEMBER to save while you are in Taipei. Don't spend all your money!
I advise you to read the other reviews and think about this decision seriously. Is HESS for everyone? No, it isn't, BUT I have thoroughly enjoyed my time, and will be renewing my contract.
STAY FLEXIBLE and PATIENT. Taiwan is a great, safe place!

Default avatar
Brendan
4/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Not great to be honest... You can do better!

My girlfriend and I decided to work for Hess as it seemed like a safe option and they seemed very reasonable after our initial experience with the HR process. Sadly, we found that the positive experiences with them do not extend much further than this.

The HR team are mostly great and the training is really thorough (if not a bit intense). This experience sets a really professional tone to the company which actually stretches no further than this for a number of key reasons.

Firstly, Hess will make you do a lot of unpaid work. This can amount to almost as much work as you get paid for. There are a vast array of employers in Taiwan which will not make teachers do unpaid work and the amount of marking and admin can be mind-bending and soul-destroying at times. Particularly if you have large, upper-level classes. Hess offer bonuses for retaining these large classes as an incentive for this work but in comparison to the amount of extra work this involves over a year, the bonuses are frankly miserable!

Also, Hess will charge you a fee if you break your one-year contract. If you choose to fight this, it will prove an ugly and unpleasant process for those who stand their ground. This is something that very few employers in Taiwan do. Many language schools will not even bind teachers to a contract.

I simply had a terrible time at the branch I was placed in. I worked twice as many Saturday hours as any other NST (native speaking teacher) - working all day, while others had Saturday free. I was also the only NST who worked late each day from Monday to Friday. This did not give me much free time, was not similar to my girlfriend's schedule and made me very unhappy. I endured this for nearly ten months of a year-long contract before some small changes were made to my schedule for my final two months of employment.

I also found that I had little or no support during my struggle, as there was no head NST at our branch. In addition, I found the response of upper level staff to be quite dismissive of my concerns by simply stating 'you signed the contract'. This is a mealy-mouthed and jobs worthy response to an employee's occupational health concerns. I was also lied to by a senior manager during discussion of my aggrevance in order to strengthen her position on the matter! My advice would be not to consider one of their contracts considering the potential outcome and the lack of compassion and decency extended.

To give you further context on this issue I should inform you that I am a man in my thirties who has worked full-time for well over a decade in a number of roles for various companies. I have not taken a single day of sickness absence in over a decade -despite a number of broken bones - and have never been informed of any issues with my working attitude. Quite the opposite in fact, I have received awards and commendations from most companies I have worked with. When I worked with Hess, I was informed that the issues I experienced were simply due to culture shock and differences in working environments and that all of my issues resulted from a poor attitude. In this case, I am pretty confident that my working record speaks for itself and that the problem lies elsewhere!

It's easy to lack confidence when making such a large move across the world to live and work in a foreign country. It is very daunting and the secured prospect of working for a giant company like Hess can be comforting. However, I can simply inform you that the language teaching market in Taiwan is ripe for the picking and if you just have faith in yourself to find a job out there you'll find a role with better pay and conditions with significantly less unpaid work. I know a number of people who enjoyed their first year with Hess, and a couple which stayed for a second year. However, with such a variation in experiences and the risk of suffering from a company's unfair practices, I would simply advise that you seek employment elsewhere on arrival.

Believe in yourself and you can find something far superior in an incredible country, even with no prior experience. I wish you the best of luck with this and hope my opinion has been of assistance to you!