First and foremost, I love Taiwan. I want to stay here; it is brilliant and amazing. I love where I live, I love the local area and the people. My review reflects none of that because -- and I wish I could underline the rest of this sentence -- that shouldn't be the consideration you have when working for Hess.
Focusing entirely on the program: It's only (and barely) adequate if you've never taught a day in your life and have absolutely zero experience; the materials are poorly edited, and this includes both student books and teacher manuals. There are points where the grammar is absolutely incorrect and the examples are glaringly wrong; the materials contain highly inappropriate "in-jokes" that shouldn't even exist. There are countless references to subtle racism (black children going to the police station, poor representations of the Rroma as 'crystal-ball carrying gypsies,' caveman-inspired Native Americans), drugs (a girl is holding a flower that looks exactly like a marijuana leaf), alcohol, age inappropriate word choices for teaching phonics.
There is far too much work for the time allowed, and you're expected to get through all of it. There are activities that are incredibly pointless for the time given to them, and you're questioned if you skip something in favour of doing a different activity. I prefer to incorporate more speaking in my classes, as this is something most of my students need more practice with. However, as I'm expected to get through all the low-grade secretarial work provided in order to "prove" I've "effectively taught" my students, there isn't a lot of time to incorporate discussion and questioning.
When I'm teaching, my co-teachers commonly interrupt me. Sometimes it's about class behaviour, which I can handle. The moment the most minor infraction occurs, my teachers are up and shouting at my students. If I'm in the middle of teaching something, they always question me. I had a lesson about using past continuous tense; the instructions stated that students should be using past continuous tense, and my co-teacher kept insisting that we should be using "simple past tense" regardless of how many times I pointed out that the instructions stated "past continuous" and that answering all questions using past continuous would make sense. Rather than waiting until after class and discussing this, it was determined that the best time for an argument over instructions was during class time and in front of the students.
The training that is provided is minimal and inadequate. They constantly pull you in for trainings on various things that do nothing more than waste time; they could easily email you the videos and PowerPoints they plan to show you, as those are the only thing they will ever reference. More than half of your questions will be answered with the phrase: "Check the teachers manual" or "Ask your branch." Both of which are problematic when your branch doesn't know.
Their pay is lower than average, too. It's not bad, and a person can obviously live on it; it's just lower than the going standard.
Two more things to consider, as well, if you're going to work with Hess:
1. They won't tell you until nearing the end of training what the legal status is about working in kindergartens. It's a changeable law that is a grey area, but it is currently illegal; depending on the capricious nature of the inspectors (and even your school), you really need to be aware of its legal status and avoid being caught if you're currently teaching children in that age bracket. Seriously.
2. If you're looking at Hess for a cheap alternative to a TEFL certification, you're being silly. Their TEFL is not accredited by any university/program (as they cannot afford the costs of going to an English-speaking university?). They state that it may be useful but will not always be accepted, but they sort of neglect mentioning this directly in their propaganda for new recruits.