My experience working with Hess

I just want to start out by saying that I know there are a lot of posts online about how terrible Hess is, but I personally don’t think that you can truly understand how awful it was to work there until you have been through it. I am really not the type of person to go out of my way to make an account and post in forums like this, however, having worked at Hess I felt like it would be a disservice to anyone looking to work for Hess if I didn’t make this post.

Let us start from the beginning where all of this started at the recruitment stage. I arrived in Taiwan filled with excitement to work as a teacher in a foreign country. I knew it was going to be a tough job, having never worked with kids before and limited teaching experience Hess seems like a great place to land my feet. The training was very intense. 10 days of 09:00 - 18:00 /19:00 with a 1- hour break in the middle and 1 day off in the whole 10-day schedule. The training was helpful, however many of my co-workers and I have found that we rarely use techniques taught to us in class. Simply because the curricula laid out by Hess didn’t allow time for all the ‘games’ which had to be played with the students for each section of the lesson. I believe that Hess was very deceitful in their hiring practices. During training, they will tell that maybe 30 minutes of prep work and marking would be needed for each class you teach. This was far from the truth, Hess always had a ways of springing things up on you last minute: comments, report cards, and certificates. Therefore, if you teach for 20-22 hours per week, expect your realistic working schedule to be around 35-40 hrs. Towards the end of the training, it wasn’t until an hour before the ‘contract signing ceremony’ that the human resources department mentioned teaching kindergarten in Taiwan was illegal. However, they compared the legality of the issue, similar to that of ‘j-walking’ in the states. Branches were able to predict when (for-lack-of-better-term )‘raids’, were going to happen and simply tell the NSTs to not teach that day and essentially ‘take a paid day off’. This was far from the truth in reality. The raids are a much bigger deal than they initially made it out to be, and the branches cannot always predict when the raids will happen. This could leave NSTs hiding in the bathrooms, stairways, even closets when the inspectors came.

Once you have moved from training into your branches you will start the branch-specific training. This is important since every branch at Hess operates slightly differently. If you had a small class then all the marking, lesson prepping, and report card writing will be manageable. But if you were unlucky to have been given a big class (>22) then the admin work can slowly take a toll on you. Expect to be writing communication book comments and preparing crafts (for kindergarten) either weekly or biweekly. In addition to weekly quiz grading, homework grading, and monthly report card writing.

If you have made it this far into the post all I want to say is that you guys are the real MVPs and thank you for listening to my story. I had just finished my 1-year contract at Hess and I do not regret leaving at all. To the people that are considering Hess, please consider again. There are a lot of buxibans out there that are in need of NSTs. To the people that currently work at Hess; the point of this post isn’t to slam Hess but rather to paint a clearer and transparent picture of what it is like working here. I truly believe that this company started out with good intentions. You can even see it from their website that they offer financial support for children of aboriginal ethnicity in Taiwan. However, I think that the company got too big too quickly and with a lack of quality control.

This is the end of what I have to say.

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HESS isn’t for everyone, but I know several people who found starting their teaching career there useful.

The training failed here because the games aren’t supposed to be separate to the syllabus. The target language should be incorporated within the game.

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Everyone is in the same boat as you. They aggressively hire new teachers so that they can exploit them. After a year or two all of the teachers leave to go back home or they choose a better school.

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It’s generally a starter job, although I do know of teachers who stayed there a long time. They have a career ladder of sorts (at least much more than most other schools).

These chain schools are kind of like an apprenticeship. Generally a bit crap, but everyone has to go through it.

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Sounds terrible. Don’t they also ask you to go in on weekends sometimes and prepare all kinds of drama shows e.g. Christmas shows ?
I remember some roommates of mine worked for Hess, they never had much time to themselves.

Also, going on this description and others I have read , it seems they may be operating illegal bilingual kindergartens and hiring foreign people to work illegally in them (putting foreigners in a situation where by working what they thought was a legitimate teaching job they are actually breaking the law).
This does not sound like an ethical organisation .

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Fortunately I never had to deal with shows ect since I taught the very young of the kindergarteners.

I also agree that the ethics of teaching kindergarten should be questioned. It seems like nothing which they tell us about teaching kindergarten was every black and white. There always seemed to be something they were not telling us.

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I do agree, it is a great place to start. However I do think that they take advantage of unwitting new teachers.

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The required training before you can get the job should have been your first giant red flag.

IMO not allowing full-English kindies is unethical. Screw the law.

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The whole thing sounds relatively standard Taiwan Buxiban practice.

But they screw teachers too.

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Yeah, but that’s the law, so better follow it.
After all, it’s always the teacher who gets the short end of the stick.

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I knew the Polish girl (she was in her twenties) who started Tess :wink:, a lot of us knew her. She even had a beer with me when I was young and charming without my wrinkles. I heard allegedly , supposedly that her Taiwanese husband got her deported and took over Tess.

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:raised_hand: and I liked it.