Teach in Taiwan with HESS International Educational Group

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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

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You can still apply to work with HESS, but you will have to have the certificate by the time you come to Taiwan. Let your "Overseas Advisor" know your situation.

Reviews

54%
based on 28 reviews
  • Benefits 5.3
  • Support 6.2
  • Fun 6.5
  • Facilities 5.7
  • Safety 7.7
  • Instruction 4.5
  • Support 2
  • Value 3
  • Difficulty 3
  • Job Assistance 2.5
Showing 16 - 28 of 28
Default avatar
Chad
9/10

Working for four years!

I have been working for Hess for almost four years and it has been a great experience. Taiwan is so conveniently located in Asia that it allows you to travel easily between many countries on the cheap. Also this company does quite a bit to ensure that you are looked after once you arrive. I would say that most peoples biggest gripe about Hess is its large size and the feeling of working in a middle sized corporation. Overall it is a good company, but Taiwan is the real reason to come. This island is truly beautiful!

How can this program be improved?
Some stream lining of corporate bureaucracy would go a long way...
Response from HESS International Educational Group

We are happy to hear you having a great experience here. Yes, Taiwan is an amazing place to live.

No company is perfect, there are pluses and minuses working at small, middle or large companies. That being said, we are proud that we do review our processes every year to see how we can be better. We take the time to talk to our teachers, our mangers and our clients to hear different perspectives on how the company can be improved and we take actions to improve.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Caroline
9/10

NST in Keelung

As an introvert, going overseas to teach during the 2009 recession was a scary prospect, but HESS did a fantastic job of making sure I was comfortable and settled. I had a fantastic time teaching kindy for two years in Keelung.

How can this program be improved?
The program would be improved by integrating more current, research-based early childhood education theories.
Response from HESS International Educational Group

It is great that you had a nice time in Keelung, it is really a nice place that offers the best of both worlds, near the ocean and not far from Taipei!

We do think it is so much more beneficial to stay two years at least, so you can really appreciate the benefits. Not only do you have a much better understanding of the culture and how to get around, you also have higher pay after you get your raise, and the bonus month vacation that allows you to explore Asia or go home.

We do try to reevaluate our curriculum every year to look at bringing in new ideas and systems for getting our students the most up to date teaching styles and methodologies. We will continue to look at bringing these ideas to our classrooms. If you have any specific feedback for your writers, please let us know at [email protected]

Thank you for your feedback.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jane
5/10

Pros and Cons

Hess is one of the largest "cram schools" in Taiwan, and is therefore often seen as a safe bet for those looking to apply for a job in Taiwan while overseas. They conduct interviews via Skype, so for many people it's nice to have the security of a job offer before arriving in Taiwan. They also offer a 2-week (unpaid) training which can be extremely helpful for someone who has never taught before. Teaching materials are provided as well. However, your day-to-day experience as a Hess teacher might vary wildly from someone at a different branch than you. Some branches seem to be well-organized and supportive of their teachers, whereas others are definitely not.

Where I was placed, the new NSTs received almost zero support upon arriving at the branch, even in terms of basic needs like finding housing (it was promised during training that our branch would help us find appropriate housing). I was not given any information about the classes I was teaching other than being given the materials for the class (and the information I received during training). I only had a chance to observe kindy (no TreeHouse or Step Ahead) and I was not given the follow-up observations that are supposedly required after 3, 6, and 9 months. Despite multiple requests, the NSTs were unable to receive "fun time" craft materials for Kindy or even printer paper to use for printing tests and worksheets so we basically had to buy our own supplies out of pocket. Additionally, sometimes when Teacher's Guides/flashcard sets became outdated or went missing, the branch refused to order new ones and we were left without materials for our classes. Class performances were a HUGE ordeal, and despite being given very minimal information about the expectations for our Kindy and TreeHouse performances, we were harshly criticized for their apparent inadequacies (extremely frustrating considering we had all put a lot of unpaid time and effort into preparing them). Lastly, if you teach kindy, you should be prepared to witness the routine physical and emotional abuse of the children by their HRTs (Taiwanese teachers). At my branch, the children were hit, pushed, yelled and screamed at (often for such small transgressions as spilling water or throwing up on the floor), and forced to hug/kiss teachers and classmates against their will. If these things make you uncomfortable, being in such a classroom can make for a very unhappy situation. The branch managers seemed to condone this behavior.

I do know some people who had good experiences at their Hess branches, but overall, there are so many horror stories that you are taking a big risk by accepting a job offer from them. I think that if the organization could keep better tabs on its individual branches to make sure they are keeping their promises to their teachers, and if the organization invested a bit more in its teachers rather than treating them as disposable, then Hess could take a step toward being a more reputable business.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

We are very sorry to hear you did not get the normal support we offer our new teachers.

We do send out surveys to all our new teachers after they arrive to allow them to give us feedback and if needed, make sure their individual school is doing what is required. Also, our Head Office is always a phone call or an email away if any staff feels they should be getting better support.

We care lots about giving the support we offer, so thank you for letting us know. We would love to get more information about your specific case, so we can understand where things did not happen and make sure it does not happen again.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Kimberly
8/10

A great place to learn how to teach

Each week day was started by teaching children between the ages of 3-6. They love you so much and bring a lot of energy to the class. These classes bring a lot of satisfaction because they enter the school with zero English so everything that they learn, comes from you. It's also really fun working with young people. Watching them grow and develop personalities is interesting because each one is completely different from the other. There is also a portion of the lesson devoted to building up skills like cutting, coloring, movement, etc each lesson which allows you to help the students learn how to learn independence which brings them confidence they need to try new things.

In the evenings, you get to teach the older students. They are usually in grade 1 or higher. These students usually have some English brackground already and you are maintaining what they previously learned and expanding more on the English language. These students have the ability to share what happened in their days with you. You teach them writing, listening, speaking and reading skills to allow them to have a well rounded English language ability.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing, I would change the amount of games that we are told to use while teaching. Games are important and allow the students to have fun and enjoy class, but teaching the material from the lesson is more important...once they understand and know what they are meant to from the lesson, then a game can be used to review it or give them the opportunity to practice what they have learned.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hess
1/10

A painful lesson

From my experience with working for Hess I can safely say Hess is not interested in students education, teachers well being, or maintaining an enriching program. Basically they cram as many students in the classes as they can to make a ton of money. The head Chinese teachers constantly undermine the foreign teachers authority - which makes it impossible to keep your class under control or teach them anything. The lesson plans are fairly well structured, but good luck finding them and finding the appropriate books. If you can think on your feet, you don't mind being disrespected, you can stand being overworked, and you can tolerate a lot of yelling - you will be able to handle hess. Overall Hess is an incredibly unprofessional and I would not recommend anyone to work for Hess.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS International Educational Group. We're sorry to hear that you've had a negative experience, but this is certainly not the norm at our schools.

It is always difficult to keep a large number of people in a large number of locations on the same page, but we try our best to do this by having standard policies and procedures for our schools.

Training is provided to both local and foreign teachers not just for teaching, but also for cultural communication so our staff is prepared for the difficulties that come with a multicultural working environment.

We also have various resources in place in addition to the teaching material itself: head teachers, co-teachers, branch managers, and area managers are available for teachers to seek help or advice from.

We take teaching very seriously and have developed a number of structured curricula over the years that have been tried and tested to give students a well-rounded and fun immersion into the English language. These materials are designed to be very structured yet flexible so that both new and experienced teachers can use them to the students' benefit. Teachers guides with detailed lesson plans are provided, as well as class books and any other resources that teachers might need or want to use in class.

Class sizes are about 18-20 students on average, which is large enough for students to have fun practice speaking English with peers but small enough that a teacher is still able to build personal relationships with the students.

We hope that by taking these measures and others, we can help foster a positive environment at our schools and set our students and teachers up for success.

However, we know that inconsistencies are difficult to eliminate altogether, and we encourage anyone who has further questions or concerns to contact the English Human Resources Department directly at [email protected].

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Robert
7/10

Good for some, real bad for others

Like most HESS teachers, this was my first teaching in Taiwan. Many people who have been living here for a while will describe HESS as a "training school." It's a mostly good introduction to being an educator as it does provide a 10 day training course, which can be useful if you are genuine about wanting to learn. Depending on the branch, they are usually pretty good about letting you observe more experienced teachers, both Taiwanese and foreigners. Just make sure that you are compensated for these observations. It's typically half your hourly pay, UNLESS you are not getting the hours promised to you in your contract. For instance, if you sign a 25-hour contract but wind up teaching 22 hours, this means you should be getting 3 hours of paid observation.

One huge benefit of HESS is the teaching materials provided. Being as large as they are, they have the resources to print books, flashcards, workbooks, and even have unique songs to go along with the curriculum.

However, your experience is largely dependent on which branch you are placed. Many have wonderful facilities, friendly staff, brilliant students, and dedicated teachers. But... there are the horror stories. Branches situated in old buildings, with a jaded Taiwanese staff who have learned to mostly ignore what they consider petulant foreign brats. Many foreign teachers at HESS are real scum bags and lend to the reputation that foreigners in Taiwan have.

But be aware that since most teachers are fresh-off-the-boat and typically only plan to stay one year, HESS teachers will not enjoy the benefits that other schools provide. For instance, absolutely no paid vacation and absolutely no holiday bonuses.

Overall, it was a pleasant experience. If you are able to see past the BS and facade, dedicate yourself to being a good teacher, and be open to the fact that things are different from back home, you should be fine. Although I had a terrible experience that caused me to leave, I would still recommend this school to unexperienced teachers.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your feedback. We at Hess do our best to take feedback and improve on things.

Your attitude towards the job is one that often separates those who are successful from those who do not have positive experiences.

We do not hide the fact that we take the responsibilities of teaching seriously and are a real job. Staff that are trying and putting in the effort that being a teacher requires will find the support we can offer to be great. People that are looking for a free ride and not interested in treating it as a job, will find the experience less than ideal.

We am sorry to hear you had a reason that cause you to leave, we do wish you had brought up your concerns with your branch/ area or contacted the Human Resources Department, as we would have done what we could to make sure both you and the school were treated fairly.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Hess
8/10

Fantastic support at Hess. Not as bad as the rumors. Worth a try if you're willing to actually work.

As a current Hess teacher, I can say that my experience has not been nearly as bad or ugly as some of the previous reviews claim. In fact, it's been just the opposite.

Personally, I have had a great experience with Hess and in Taiwan, and I plan to continue working here. This school (company) has given me many opportunities that I couldn't have found elsewhere in Taiwan. As a big company with foreigners in higher-up places, it also gives its teachers more potential to move up or participate in activities that smaller schools don't do.

Of course, no school is perfect, so this is not to say it is negative-free. Yes, Hess requires a lot of its teachers. You will work hard. It won't be a vacation in Asia where you can just stand in class looking foreign without any more effort exerted. If that's what you're looking for, Hess is probably not the best place to start for you. There are hiccups now and then, but if you're willing to utilize the resources available, it's nothing that can't be sorted out.

Speaking of resources, the support at Hess is second to none. They are fine for more experienced teachers, but especially for first-time teachers, you'll be well taken care of and guided the whole time. This is what lead me to Hess to begin with, and I have not been disappointed. I've been lucky to avoid all the horror stories of not being paid or schools shuttering up in the middle of the night.

Bottom line is this: A lot of people who have bad things to say about Hess came into it for the wrong reasons or with inaccurate expectations. For a lot of these people, Taiwan or teaching isn't for them and it has nothing to do with Hess because they'd have the same complaints about any school.

Realizing that things work differently in foreign countries and realizing that you actually have to WORK will take care of most issues. Anything beyond that, don't just stew about it or bail out before giving it a chance. Talk to someone, and usually the issue can be solved with some patience and teamwork.

How can this program be improved?
Like I said, I haven't had any major issues. Like any big company, communication could be better now and then, but that's where you have to ask questions for yourself. There are sometimes unexpected changes, but I don't know of any school where there aren't.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Casey
1/10

HESS is cruel to foreign teachers

HESS was simply the worst employment experience I've ever had in my life. This company charges the highest tuition and promises the moon to parents, then turns around and DUMPS ALL THE RESPONSIBILITIES ON BRAND NEW TEACHERS.

Think of all the possibilities for disaster for a minute... Think of all that could go wrong.

Then realize it all HAS happened before and continues to this day. And management cares nothing about foreign teachers and always sides with the Taiwanese. Who, by the way, are quick to abuse employees.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS.

Our ultimate goal to is provide the best educational experience for our students. This means that our staff members--both foreign and Taiwanese--work hard and put in their time and effort for the benefit of the students.

HESS has clear policies in place as well as an entire department dedicated to making sure that foreign teachers are treated fairly and supported adequately. Compared with other similar schools, HESS is one of the more upfront companies regarding these things. As we have learned from many years in business, happy teachers means happy students, so it is not in anyone's best interest to mistreat or take advantage of the resources that make our educational offerings above the standard.

We are the largest language school in Taiwan and one of the largest single employers of foreigner workers in Taiwan. We have been in business for almost 30 years, and in this time, we have employed thousands of native-speaking teachers at our schools across the country.

Like any organization of our size, there are always some people who are not happy with what we have to offer. These people have a loud voice, but thankfully, they are a small minority, and their views do not reflect those of the thousands of other teachers who have worked for us in the past and those who are still working for us.

If you have any specific questions about HESS, we would be happy to answer them for you. Contact the English Human Resources Department at [email protected].

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
OverAndOut
6/10

A good place to start

Hess is usually a good place to start. My experience was that they offered training and managed the paperwork and pay well.

The downside is that they try micromanage teachers' lives. They take advantage of the fact that most of their teachers have never taught before and are isolated in a foreign country whose laws they're ignorant of. They do this by imposing their rigid curriculum and desired stereotype, and pressuring those who don't fit. Not to mention the hours of unpaid labour they expect and illegal practices they carry out without the teachers' realising (for example grading homework, completing reports, training and demos, clocking in early, and fining those who leave before completed contracts). They do this because, as other reviews have mentioned, what matters is the bottom line (rather than the quality of teaching) and they know the Hess machine will ship in another teacher who's none the wiser.

If you can stomach all of this, however, it's an ok place to start. You've got a year of definite work and training that'll help you find the better schools that are out there. Just ignore the re-signing bonus they try tempt you back with and enjoy the gratitude that Hess has left you with when faced with a half-decent school.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS.

We take teaching very seriously and have developed a number of structured curricula over the years that have been tried and tested to give students a well-rounded and fun immersion into the English language.

Our structured programs and teaching methods are not intended to punish teachers, but rather to help give students a consistent learning environment to help them thrive in the classroom.

HESS is a very large organization that is committed to educating students in English as well as Western culture. We take education very seriously, and expect our teachers to do so as well. Our standards and expectations of teachers are clearly outlined from the start on our website, application process, interview, and training. We do our best to make applicants and new teachers aware of these things because we want to ensure that they are not surprised or disappointed by our work expectations.

If you have any further questions about HESS, we'd be happy to answer them. You can reach the English Human Resources Department at [email protected].

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Jack
1/10

Teaching English in Taiwan-Hess Review

Accepting an offer of employment from Hess Language School

Accepting an offer of employment from Hess Language School to teach English in Taiwan; the offer of employment from Hess can make you feel rather secure about putting up all that money and travelling to Taiwan for Hess’s training programme, but it is very important to bear in mind that candidates only have a prospect of gaining employment with Hess at the end of training.

The offer of employment is dependant on successfully passing training. Hess training is more akin to a selection process, or a nine day job interview, coupled with assessments and testing throughout. To actually be employed by Hess, as an English language teacher in Taiwan, a candidate must successfully pass this.

Training is, in my view, conducted very rapidly, one could speculate, to minimise cost. A major problem for trainees is that assessed practical demonstrations are given with only very limited and arguably inadequate amounts of time for adequate preparation. Demonstrations must be carried out in accordance with the Hess curriculum and Hess teaching style, which the trainers go through rapidly. There are also daily tests and a final exam at the end of training to contend with.

If you are not adept at public speaking you will most likely struggle with training, as you will be required to use Hess teaching methods to teach from the Hess curriculum, in front of assessors and your classmates, throughout training.

I am aware of a trainee who was told by Hess’s Head Trainer that his demonstrations were average, after only his third ever attempt at one in his life, and that as a consequence he would not be offered a contract with Hess; this was despite Hess being fully aware that he had never before taught English when they made him the offer of employment in the first place. In this persons case he had travelled from the other side of the world to take up Hess’s offer of employment. If your scores are, likewise, rather average you can expect to be similarly removed from training, and refused a position with Hess.

If you wish to teach English in Taiwan, and you are looking for employment before you get there, I recommend finding another alternative. I would additionally recommend that if you do decide to go, be prepared to find work once you get there. Also, check out this website it may help: tealit (dot) com.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

All teachers who are new to HESS must attend all required training as part of their one-year contract. This includes a 9-day initial training and four 1-day follow-up trainings.

These trainings cover basic TEFL material as well as HESS-specific curricula and teaching methods. Topics such as time management and classroom management (among others) will also be covered. Upon successful completion of these trainings and a one-year teaching contract, teachers will also be issued a HESS TEFL Certificate.

People do not often get cut from training. We understand that people make an investment when moving to a new country for work and often work hard to learn our material and develop into a good teacher. In fact, everyone in the English Human Resources Department and Training & Development Center have done these exact things.

It is not in our interests to hire people and then cut them as it wastes our time, causes us a financial loss, and can greatly inconvenience our schools and existing teachers if we do not send someone from training to the branch. Most importantly, it puts our students at a disadvantage if teachers do not arrive at the branches when they are expected.

At the same, there are occasionally some people who do not take the position seriously and show up late to training, have a negative attitude, or clearly make no effort to learn the material or prepare for their teaching demos during training. If we feel that someone sees teaching in Taiwan as a paid vacation and is clearly not interested nor making any effort to be serious about educating young children, then we reserve the right to rescind the offer and not place that person in a classroom.

As mentioned though, people do not often get cut from training because most people only accept the offer if they are genuinely interested in teaching in Taiwan. We provide a lot of support for our first-year teachers, including the initial training and four follow-up trainings throughout the year because we want to see our teachers develop and succeed.

If you have any further questions about HESS, we'd be happy to answer them. You can contact EHRD at [email protected].

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
NotHess
1/10

Don't risk it

While it's true that the quality of Hess varies from branch to branch, you really have no way of knowing what you are getting until you are locked into a contract. The owner of Hess is in it for the money. Period. The managers are kept not based on how they treat their teachers, but on how the numbers look. They promise so much, but in my case NONE of it was delivered. They messed up my visa paperwork, my health insurance card, and they made mistakes in my pay EVERY month...it just happened that the mistakes worked out in their favor. Hess has systemic problems that start from the top; while there are so great people who work there, it's really hit and miss-and all of the craziest people I met in my years in Taiwan were at Hess! I wouldn't recommend this school to anyone-the horror stories far outweigh the good experiences once you are here and talk to a variety of people who have worked there. My advice is look elsewhere, anywhere else....

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS.

I'm sorry to hear of the difficulties you've encountered, but these are certainly not the norm at HESS. While we are not a perfect company, when these kinds of issues arise, we do our best to fix the problem and prevent it from happening in the future.

Our top priority at any HESS branch is providing students with high-quality English education and experience. We constantly endeavor to improve and continue raising the bar on these things.

Over 30 years in business, we have had thousands of foreign teachers in our branches, and our documents staff are adept at handling all required paperwork and documents professionally an efficiently. We consider the support we offer to teachers as well as documents handling, accurate and timely payment, etc. among the basic benefits awarded to our teachers.

If we were not professional and dedicated to excellence in these areas, we would not be able to afford our students the kind of time-tested education that we do today.

We would be happy to answer any further questions you have about HESS. You can contact the English Human Resources Department at [email protected].

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Emily
8/10

Hess Language School, Taichung, Taiwan

This is a great place to start for first-time teachers. The lesson plans are given to you, you have a 10 initial training, followed by a few days observing other teachers, and they organise all the paper work and visas for you. Some people have a great time, some have a miserable time, it's very much dependent on individual attitude and also the branch you are assigned to. It's definitely worth a shot!

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS.

We strive to continue offering quality education to our students and support to our foreign and local teachers.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Tim
8/10

HESS Taichung

HESS is good if you are a first-time teacher, or if you want to get a job before you travel overseas. They give you brief training and help you find a house and get set up. Your experience mostly depends on the individual branch you work at - mine was well-organised with friendly staff who were very helpful, and the other foreign teachers were great. The pay is pretty standard for new teachers - if you are qualified, you could get much better pay. The materials and lesson plans are all prepared for you. HESS has kindy classes too which is great for energetic people.

Response from HESS International Educational Group

Thank you for your review of HESS.

We pride ourselves on hiring and training quality teachers so our students receive only the best English education.

We are especially prepared to support first-time teachers but also provide the opportunity for more experienced teachers to grow and develop their skills in the classroom.

Hess is currently offering adjusted starting pay rates based on experience or having a TEFL certificate or teaching credentials.

Yes, I recommend

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About HESS International Educational Group

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...