New native English-speaking Director of a Hagwon seeks more students

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Jang Jaeyoung
Joined: 02/04/2013 - 16:54
New native English-speaking Director of a Hagwon seeks more students

I was fortunate enough (last November) at the end of my first year teaching English in Suwon, to not only get a Korean girlfriend, but one who now owns the Hagwon where I work. She also made me the Director of the school so as to try to get more students with a native speaker "running" the school.

I started here just after my year contract with my other school, and while I love teaching how I want, having all of this authority, and say in how things are done at our school, though try very hard to never have absolute power and becoming a tyrant. I mostly try to make the students behave well, work hard, and we have weekly games to play and make things a bit more fun. I am always striving for my kids to have fun, but the bunch I started with seems to be a bit low in level and has a lot of troubles we have been fixing since my first class in November. Now, these kids are quite good and I can finally start teaching them the things I think are more interesting ranging from Dr. Seuss to eventually Alice in Wonderland (I hope). I also have been doing a few creative things with them, like writing journals and stories, though of course I have to focus on test scores because it seems like it's the only thing parents care about. I understand the parents want their kids to get into good schools and that this is MUCH more important and competitive than, at least more than I personally am used to, in the United States, but if they can't say it or even remember how to say it, they will have lots of trouble talking to native English speakers. I work my tail off to ensure my students get the best of both worlds and the test scores take priority over the fun, to keep the parents happy and the students in good schools. Seems very hard to balance at times, but I manage it as best as I can.

Here is the important part where I ask for advice:

However, my real problem lies in enrollment. We haven't many students and I have been trying for months to get more with flyers and word-of-mouth, but to hardly any avail. It has been difficult to get more students these days and I am in need of different ideas and opinions on how to advertise well and on a very low budget. I was thinking about something as extravagant as hiring people to make a tv commercial. I have some money away for advertising and would do a commercial for the right price and with low risk in being as ineffective as that flyer idea we had. I have a few ideas as how to get more students, but I am unexperienced in advertising and wonder if there is anyone out there who can enlighten me as to how to get many students to enroll in my school that is located in a low-middle class neighbor, where we have no bus to transport students home, but is the only school in the whole town that has a native English-speaking teacher.

Any and all comments are welcome, lest they're to bash anything, of course.

Thank you all for your time, and please help in any way you can.

Joined: 11/02/2009 - 20:12
Re: New native English-speaking Director of a Hagwon seeks ...

Rather than a tv ad why not try billboard advertising? If you are the only native English speaker then put a picture of yourself on it... obviously smiling and playing with children. I would guess this is cheaper than a tv advert. Also why not try promoting yourself outside public schools... it may be a long time outside and you may get little from it but you will at least get noticed and word of mouth is great.

How about trying open classes on a weekend where you invite potential parents to watch?

I'm assuming your girlfriend can speak fluent Korean so get here to spread the advantages of learning English from a native speaker and a korean speaker around town.

How about training your current students to put on a public speech contest or something theatrical in the middle of town? The current parents would probably love it and potential parents may notice it.

Why not take your kids on monthly "field trips"? You can teach them language in advance and take them to a park or a supermarket where people can see you speaking in English and having fun classes with the kids.

It seems to me that having a bus is key to success in academies as parents are very protective and aware of the safety of their children. I would get one as soon as I could manage the cost and the time to run that service.


Good luck