HESS International Educational Group

  www.hess.com.tw
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HESS International Educational Group Reviews

Updated Jul 24, 2014
All Employees Current Employees Only

2.8 25 reviews

25 Employee Reviews
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    Positive work environment

    NST (Current Employee)

    ProsMy branch was well organized and balanced. I was only at one branch and had good hours and stable classes. The staff was a lot of fun and I was also called to sub at other branches often.

    ConsFor me, I would not want to work there long term because of the constant turnover. It was good for a short term, post college job.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    1 person found this helpful  

    Not a great place to work

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

    ProsEntry-level position. Doesn't require experience. Gives you free training. Picks you up at the airport. They don't discriminate against ABCs.

    ConsYour co-teachers will generally act as if they were your bosses. You will work very hard for very little money. High turnover, as you can get better jobs elsewhere once you have some experience. Very little control over teaching style or methods. Keeps you from quitting by having a high monetary penalty for leaving before contract expires. Expect to work Saturday mornings too.

    Advice to Senior ManagementThis is their business model. They expect high-turnover and a continuous stream of new employees. However, they could at least look at modern research for language acquisition and try to make their teaching methods more effective and not based so much on mindless repetition.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

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    Great experience

    English Teacher (Former Employee) Taipei (Taiwan)

    ProsAwesome pay, coupled with Taiwan's low cost of living, it was very easy to get by. My co-teachers were a lot of fun and fellow English Teachers were great.

    ConsSometimes felt a bit mismanaged, I would sometimes be called in or asked to teach something within the next day or two without any prep.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCommunicate with the teachers a little better and you'll hang onto them.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Good if you're starting out as a teacher.

    Native Speaking Teacher (Former Employee) Taipei (Taiwan)

    ProsThey offer a lot of support when you first get there. You're given about 10 days of intensive training with teaching demonstrations, education on their teaching materials, etc. During this time you're hotel is paid for and you're given breakfast at the hotel and lunch at training. During this time your future branch contacts you and helps you find an apartment, etc if you need it. Note, not everyone passes training and is offered a job. In my group of about 30, only 2 didn't make it however.

    Once you are sent on your way, you start at your branch. Lesson plans are pretty easy to keep up, as the teachers guide for each level lays things out pretty easily. So if you're looking for a good starter job in the ESL industry then this isn't a bad place to start. The experience really depends on your branch though. And if you're living in a city, it's pretty easy to offer your services as a sub to neighboring schools to pick up extra hours.

    You get about a week of unpaid vacation the first year, more if you resign. Holidays (about 10-12 days a year) are also unpaid.

    If you're looking to country hop in Asia, they have a lot of opportunities recently in Korea, China, Japan and Singapore, so it can be easy to transfer to a new location.

    ConsThe pay is a bit lower then some of the other schools in Taiwan. Pay raises are only offered once a year now (they were twice when I started.)

    If you're looking to move up in the company as a foreign teacher, there's not a lot of places to go in the teaching field particularly, but they do have some places at the main office occasionally for other positions.

    If you get stuck at a bad branch it can be a bit of a pain, if you get in well with your managers though it can be a breeze.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

     

    The specific school I worked at was great, but the company in general has problems.

    Native English Teacher (Former Employee) Taoyuan (Taiwan)

    ProsInitial training was very useful, received a lot of support from management, loved working with the children, developed great relationships with other teachers

    ConsThe job really depends on which school you're at, curriculum can become boring and tedious to teach, unpaid trainings take up a day of work

    Advice to Senior ManagementConsider making a more dynamic curriculum, increasing second year bonus to get teachers to stay longer, more trainings conducted at school so teachers don't have to miss classes to go to training

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    May 14, 2014

    Thank you for your review of HESS.

    We appreciate hearing from teachers who have had a positive experience in Taiwan. We are constantly updating and improving our curricula, as well as developing
    ... More
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    HESS is the biggest ESL school in Taiwan for a reason.

    NST - Native Speaking Teacher (Current Employee) Taipei (Taiwan)

    Pros* Help from the very beginning of the process. I had never worked overseas and was nervous about the steps involved. The staff were friendly and insightful, as they took me though exactly what I needed to do in order to come over to Taiwan to work.
    * Initial training was great, and set me up to be a successful teacher.
    * Like-minded people working for the company. I have made many really good friends.
    * Follow-up training's make sure that you are constantly progressing as a teacher.
    * Large company. Several ways to grow within the company.
    * HESS organizes events during the year that are great to get involved in. They get teachers together to socialize and take part in Taiwanese festivals.

    Cons* New teaches can be overwhelmed during the training and first few weeks.
    * Your success is very much a product of what you put in.

    Advice to Senior ManagementCarry on doing what you are doing!

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    Mar 24, 2014

    Thank you for your review of HESS.

    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
    ... More
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    A good system of support to help you enter the TEFL world

    Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)

    Pros- A stable working environment, no need to get multiple jobs to make ends meet
    - Guaranteed hours made it so that I could be confident what my minimum monthly earning would be. This way, I could plan my budget and any money made above my minimum allows me to do things I never would have dreamed.
    - Makes the transition to Asia so much easier, they take care of everything, would not have wanted to have to do the communication with the government to get residency on my own...
    - Really helpful HR department who were there to answer any questions or concerns I had
    - Initial training was hard, but the trainers were awesome! Really felt more confident about teaching after the training. I had never taught before, so this helped me a lot
    - Being part of a big training group (There were around 50 other people in my training) helped me to make a social network from day one. I ended up finding people to share an apartment in my training group which was great. Also, there were around 7 schools in my area of New Taipei, so there was an active social network between all the teachers in the area. Was nice to meet so many people when I first arrived as I was on my own
    - Kids are amazing, so cute and so funny. Never had a job where I was greeted with so many smiles
    - My branch and area were fantastic, I have great co-workers and managers and have gotten lots of support both in the classroom and settling in to living in Taiwan
    - I had opportunities to get involved in other things: overseas camps, organizing activities, helping new teachers, training and management
    - Earned enough money to live very comfortably, save money and take numerous trips around Taiwan and all over Asia
    - Having so many schools allowed me to to earn extra income by doing subbing in my area

    Cons- No job is perfect, being a big organization made it necessary for me to be pro-active to get involved in things
    - Teaching is a real job, it is not a holiday. While I don't see this as a con, I have seen some people who have come expecting to get paid for no effort. As long as one understands that it is a job and expects to work, then it is not a con
    - The schedule changes day by (the weekly schedule does not change much). This means that some days you will work long hours and other days you may only work a few hours
    - Takes a bit to get used to working on Saturday, but it is the norm for the industry in Taiwan. For myself, I only had 2 hours of work on a Saturday, so I adjusted pretty easily
    - Being away from family and friends can be tough, but I have made new friends here and with Skype it is easier

    Advice to Senior Management- Intercultural management is a challenge. Both management and the teachers need to work hard to understand the individual cultures reasons for decision and actions

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    Mar 24, 2014

    Thank you for your review of HESS.

    We appreciate hearing from teachers who have had (or are having) a positive experience in Taiwan.

    If you have any further questions about HESS, we'd be happy
    ... More
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    Excellent support and guidance, but not a working holiday

    Native Speaking Teacher (NST) (Current Employee)

    Pros-- Teachers get a free TEFL certificate when they complete the company's (free) training program. Even if you already have a TEFL, I think it's crazy to turn down free training. Ever.

    -- All materials, books, lessons are already there for you, plus co-teacher support. HESS writes its own books, so everything is consistent and easy to get used to. Some say the programs themselves are boring, but that's where to get to make teaching fun. (Hey, BE a teacher.)

    -- Teaching hours are guaranteed (so you won't sign a contract and find out that the school doesn't have enough classes for you to live on). The starting pay isn't as high as some other schools, but you get a lot of other perks to make up for that. And living in Taiwan has never been a penny-pinching venture to begin with.

    -- Excellent support and guidance, start to finish. A great way to get to Taiwan with no hassle and work for a stable company that won't close its doors in the middle of the night, forget to file your documents, etc. Staff helps with all your legal papers, finding housing, etc. My managers have always bent over backward to help me out.

    -- HESS is growing. Despite all the bad press, the company is doing well enough to keep opening new schools in Taiwan and other places in Asia. If absolutely nothing else, these are chances to make better contacts in the TEFL world. Like any job, you get what you give. If you do well in Taiwan, more doors might be opened to you. Speaking of which ...

    -- Jobs available other than teaching. Most buxibans are a dead-end job, but HESS allows foreigners to work in other areas, too. It also does a lot of activities like camps and holiday/festival events. "Extra work" if you're negative, "resume-boosting" and "fun" if you're not.

    Cons-- By and large, none of the cons are any different than you'd find at any job anywhere--some things are good, some things are not so good. I'm always shocked at some of the crazy accusations people have about HESS. So much so that I wonder if we weren't working for a different place. Again, you get what you give.

    -- Experiences may be very different depending on which school you work at. They're all run by HESS, but individual staff members are different everywhere. It's important to remember that everyone's experience is different. I'm sure that some people have had a genuinely negative experience, but I've seen plenty of fresh-out-of-school kids or just unprofessional adults fail miserably because they had poor work ethic, never held a full-time job before, or simply were to entitled to "humble" themselves to doing real work.

    -- Some things are unpaid. This is a complain I see all the time, and yes, it's not fun to work and not get paid. But if you expect to work as a teacher and get paid for everything you do, don't be a teacher. If you don't care about your students or your classes, this is not the place (nor the profession) for you. It's not all about money.

    -- Because it's such a big company, there are some gaps in communication from time to time or things that come up at the last minute, but that's to be expected to some extent. There are resources available, and if you use them, they work pretty well. If you don't reach out for help when you need it, of course things aren't going to get any better. Ask questions. Ask for help. Find the right people.

    Advice to Senior ManagementManagement does a pretty good job of telling it like is and providing useful information--you just have to use it. Serious teachers will do fine. Whiny or unprofessional teachers will be weeded out pretty fast.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    Mar 24, 2014

    Thank you for your review of HESS.

    We appreciate hearing from teachers who have had (or are having) a positive experience in Taiwan. We hope to continue working hard to ensure a good stay for more
    ... More
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    A company in transition advertising its previous, more attractive self

    Native Speaking Teacher (Current Employee)

    ProsThere is a training program that will prepare you for all of the older, easy to teach curriculum. That curriculum is OK and, well, a monkey in a jersey could teach it. Subbing hours are not only available but plentiful. If you're a go-getter who loves to endear herself to her managers by doing special work on your own initiative, you will love this place. You are paid for most classroom hours. They may give you science or art classes, so if you're into that..

    It happens to be in Taiwan, a totally interesting and beautiful country with an ultra-hierarchical and totally dehumanizing attitude toward work.

    ConsThe school is currently implementing a new curriculum called ESL with very little in the way of resources and support and virtually no training for teachers. In this program, you are expected to not only use but translate specialized teacher's books designed for "real" teachers in the US with special certifications of children whose first language is English.

    Without warning, you will be making up art, science and reading curricula for classes of children with little or no knowledge of English. I was told about this program three weeks after I signed my contract and accepted a loan from the company. I was teaching it a day later. I had three hours of training for it a week after that. I hear that a guide has been prepared for one of the levels' Science programs. This, however, doesn't quite live up to the job ad's promise of full lesson plans (especially considering the program as it is is in its third year). You're also on the hook for this (if parents aren't happy, expect consequences) and you're lucky if there is a more experienced teacher at your branch able to help you.

    There is also a lot of shady business. In my experience it's best not to ask questions and you're trained to say the bare minimum to the occasional inspector. Your branch may try to rip you off or pay partial wages for special events. Mine hasn't, but this has been a widespread enough an experience among my peers that thought I ought to mention it.

    The benefits of working at this company are scant (no paid time off, you often have to find substitutes for your classes if you do take any off), you will work on Saturday mornings, there is no end of year bonus - an industry standard. There is less pay and less opportunity for growth than most other schools, however, if you are interested in making a career, "yes-men" are valued highly. Remember, the smiles are free!

    Advice to Senior ManagementI think that this company ought to work on having the management of the various branches and regions somehow communicate with central HR so that they can manage expectations when they make new hires (the technology exists). Information is very scant as to where and what your job will be and what we ought to expect until you're there doing it. At that point there is still very little in the way of guarantees. Your job will inevitably look very different from what HR has been telling you to expect during the several month long hiring period.

    Working in your company feels like working in fast food, except I had to travel thousands of miles away from my family and am making less money for harder work. You ought to listen to dissenting voices, and not just shrug them off as coming from negative nannies or whatever.. There is a reason your turnover is so high, and it ain't just people planning on working here for just a year.

    Also, some of us are genuinely interested in learning a thing or two in Taiwan. Not everyone's here because of a lack of jobs in our home country, the cheap cost of living or to get drunk while paying off our student debts. Not all of us think that a hard day's work is its own reward.

    No, I would not recommend this company to a friend

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    Mar 24, 2014

    Thank you for your review of HESS.

    We aim to keep our schools as consistent as possible by having a structured policy book in place and maintaining continuous communication through the entire
    ... More
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    Good training and work environment; YMMV

    Native Speaking Teacher (Former Employee) Kaohsiung (Taiwan)

    ProsThe training was adequate for preparing teachers, and at my branch everyone was very supportive. They give you all the resources and structure you will need to succeed and have a good time working and living in Taiwan. The pay is average to good, and you get an ARC to legally live in Taiwan.

    ConsEveryone has a different experience depending on the branch in which they work; for some it's great, and other have a miserable time. Aside from annual opportunities to get a raise, there is minimal room for growth. You have to grade homework and prep lessons without pay.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

    HESS International Educational Group English Human Resources Department responded to this review

    Mar 12, 2014

    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.

    We aim to keep our schools as consistent as
    ... More

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