Teaching is probably something you have a lot of experience in. If not, don’t worry, because I still place business skills above teaching skills, but not by that much, since this website focuses on starting, building, and growing a small English hagwon business somewhere in Korea.  If we were focusing on a large English hagwon, business skills would be a lot more important than teaching, but there isn’t much on this site about large hagwons yet.

There are a lot of English teachers in Korea, and a lot of them aren’t happy with their jobs. You might be one of them.

You might have a family in Korea or you just like living in Korea for whatever reason, but you don’t want to work for someone else or you dream of owning your own school one day.

Stop dreaming and start planning.

It isn’t too difficult to start your own English hagwon (type) business in Korea. But there are a few teaching categories we have to consider to create a successful and sustainable one.

Now let’s see what things you need to consider besides just teaching English to students.

Focus is the key to success. You need to focus on what is important in your business, but you also need to have a focus, specifically an education focus.

So the very first thing you need to do is decide what your education focus is going to be. In order to do that, you need to figure out who will be your target market, what you are good at, and figure out what will actually sell.

Once you figure out your education focus, it will be easier to make decisions in other areas. When I say “Education Focus”, I mean what is it that students will actually learn by attending your English hagwon business.

Basically, you’ll need to have answers to the following questions.

  • What will students learn by attending your school?
  • What tests will they be prepared for?
  • What kind of homework will they have to do?
  • What will students learn in 3, 6, 12, 24 months?
  • How will you teach the students?
  • What will you teach?
  • And other related questions.

For more information on this topic, check out the “Your Education Focus” section in the startup guide.

Also, checkout the “Hagwon Types” section to get an idea of what types of hagwon types are out there and what kinds of services are already being offered.

Note: There is a good chance that your education focus will evolve over time. So as long as you have a good idea of what you want to do; that should be enough to start with.

The first thing you need to figure out is if you want to prepare students for any particular tests. There are several tests students can take, and determining which tests  you will prepare students for depends on the age of your students and their goals.

There is a big chance you may not even know if you want to prepare any students for tests because you may not even have any students. So the first thing you should do is at least become familiar with the various types of English tests students in Korea take.

For example, there are school tests, English proficiency tests, College Entrance Exam tests, etc.

Then you  need to figure out if you are going to test your students on what they learn in your class. You’ll need to figure out whether you want to give out multiple choice question type tests, short answer type tests, or evaluation tests. You’ll also have to figure out if you want to use online test methods or paper based tests. And then you’ll have to figure out whether or not if you want to make your own tests or just purchase some already made ones.

But before you can do any of this, you’ll need to have an idea of what you’ll teach, how you’ll teach it, what you want your students to learn, and then figure out how often you’ll have your students take tests.

Check out the “Types of Tests” section in the startup guide for more information on this topic.

Curriculum is basically what you teach, how you teach it, and what resources you use to teach it. That means curriculum can include books, computers, articles, newspapers, movies, etc.

But before you can choose what books you will use, you need to really have a good idea of what your education focus is going to be. If a parent asks you why they should send their child to your school, you need to clearly explain why. That means you need to explain to them what they will get for paying you for your service and how you will achieve it. Your curriculum should clearly show “how” you will get the results for their child(ren).

To get a better idea of what’s available, check out the “Reasearching the Types of Curriculum” section in the startup guide.

Once you have an idea, you really  need to find or create material that will aid you in your teaching. There are countless websites available online, books in stores, and software available for purchasing. However, choosing what kinds of books you will use depends on so many factors.

You’ll need to understand what kinds of curriculum will be helpful in achieving your education focus goals. Also, you’ll also need to figure out if you are going to assign homework, what exactly you will assign, and what medium the homework is going to be (online, book work, or handouts).

There is so much to consider with the curriculum. It will be helpful to checkout the Curriculum blog posts I wrote in the past.

Once you figure out your focus, what tests you will prepare students for, and have an idea of what your curriculum will look like, you will need to figure out a way to assess the students progress and make the parents feel that they are not wasting their money by sending their kids to your English hagwon business in South Korea.

You’ll have to create some assessment templates that will help keep track of each student at your English school and relay that information to parents when necessary.

Somethings you may have to figure out include:

  • How often will you speak to parents about a student’s progress?
  • How you will keep track of a student’s progress?
  • How you will fix the weaknesses of a student?
  • How you will actually assess your students?
  • How often you will assess your students?

Another thing to really consider is whether or not your curriculum and assessment system is sustainable. It would be best if you stuck with monthly reports if that’s what you started off with in your first year. However, it takes a lot of work to make a monthly report card for 30 students if you are making them all by yourself, all the while doing other things.

I personally made monthly report cards for most of my first year in business, but as I mentioned in some podcast episodes, I stopped making them after awhile.

For more information on this topic, check out the “Assessments” section in the startup guide for more information.


There is a lot of information to consider, so it is a good idea to download the hagwon startup checklists. There is one main checklist available for FREE to download and other ones that are accessible for premium members only. Visit our checklists page to access “checklists” that will help make your planning easier.