From what I hear, Hess’ training is second to none. But, you must go to lots of extra curricular training (unpaid). Also, the hours aren’t there. You get just enough to keep your work permit. However, at the end of all this training, you will get a TEFL certificate, which is great. [/quote]
I hate to burst anybody’s bubble, but the training at Hess is not all that great. Yes, it is more than what you might get working for other schools, but it is still limited to the minimum that you need to know to teach with their curriculum and materials. You will not get a firm or broad foundation in TEFL theory or methods from their training. I’d bet money that their “TEFL certificate” is absolutely worthless outside of Taiwan, and it probably doesn’t get much recognition in Taiwan, either. Also remember that much of the Hess methodology (ok, to be fair, much of the teaching methodology in Taiwan) goes against much of what you would learn in any TEFL cert or degree course. Nevertheless, if you’re a newbie to TEFL, the training at Hess would be more useful than no training at all.
As far as hours, it can vary greatly from city to city and branch to branch. I think they put some teachers in smaller cities on salary, whereas teachers in the bigger cities are payed hourly. When I worked for them, I always had as many hours as I wanted. I was not a great teacher at the time but I made an effort, which is more than can be said for most cram school teachers. I think that Hess’s buxiban business (and maybe the overall buxiban business) in Taipei is quite stagnant. Their Taipei kindies and anqinban programs make money, but there isn’t much growth for the buxibans. When I worked for them, the buxibans that really made the money were the ones in Taichung and Gaoxiong since these markets were just getting into full swing.