The Midnight Romance In Hagwon Cast, Plot, Ending Explained: Why Does Seo Hye Jin Decide to Leave Daechi Academy?

The Midnight Romance in Hagwon
The Midnight Romance in Hagwon 2024

“The Midnight Romance in Hagwon” is a Korean drama comprising 16 episodes. It was written by Park Kyung-hwa and directed by Ahn Pan-seok. The series premiered on May 11, 2024, and falls under the genres of Romance and Melodrama. Viewers can stream it on TVING in South Korea, and on Viki, Viu, and Hitv in selected regions, from May 11, 2024, to June 30, 2024.

Plot Summary 

In “The Midnight Romance in Hagwon,” Jung Ryeo-Won plays Seo Hye-Jin, a dedicated teacher at a prestigious private school in Gangnam. After teaching for 14 years, she faces career choices and thinks about her past dreams.

Things get interesting when Wi Ha-Joon’s character, Lee Joon-Ho, returns as a new teacher. Hye-Jin had helped him get into a top university years ago, which boosted her reputation. Now, Lee Joon-Ho’s return brings back old memories and feelings.

In the competitive world of private education, a secret romance develops after school hours at the hagwon. The series also delves into the hidden lives of the school’s teachers. Will their shared past spark romance again, or will new challenges keep them apart?

Cast With Characters

  • Jung Rye Won plays Seo Hye Jin, the female lead. Her character is realistic and relatable, a hardworking teacher focused on helping students achieve high grades.
  • Wi Ha Joon plays Lee Jun Ho, the male lead. He leaves a big company to return to his old academy as a teacher. This career change highlights his growth and adds depth to his character.
  • Kim Jung Young plays Woo Sung Hee, the Vice President of Woo Sung Hee Daechi Chase Academy, who is jealous of Hye-Jin and plots against her behind her back.

What Is Seo Hye Jin’s Teaching Style And What Does It Say About Her Personality?

Seo Hye Jin focuses greatly on grades and is very devoted to her work. Her teaching style is clear when she trains another instructor one-on-one. She repeatedly questions the instructor about their methods, emphasizing the importance of striking fear in parents to motivate them. She suggests using tough passages, complicated options, and long paragraphs in assignments to achieve this. She believes if acing exams were easy and common knowledge, then Daechi Chase Academy wouldn’t be needed. She often tells parents, “To set foot in the boundless sea of knowledge, your child came to us too late.” Ultimately, she aims to make parents believe in creative teaching and rigorous training to ensure high grades.

How Does Seo Hye Jin Support Struggling Students And How Far Does She Go For Them?

Seo Hye-jin truly cares about her students and gets involved in their lives beyond just academics. Her dedication is shown through her willingness to provide personal support. One touching scene highlights this when Seo Hye-jin, played by Jung Ryeo-won, finds a student named Ha-yul crying. Ha-yul is upset about a confusing question from the CSAT Exam. After reviewing it, Seo Hye-jin realizes the question is outdated and has multiple correct answers. She advises Ha-yul to talk to her high school teacher about it, but Ha-yul is hesitant.

This scene is important because it shows Seo Hye-jin’s compassionate teaching style and her commitment to helping students in every way possible.

Why Does Lee Jun Ho Apply For A Job At Daechi Chase Academy?

Lee Jun Ho, once a top scholarship student at Daechi Chase Academy, decides to apply for a teaching position there after leaving a prestigious corporate job. Returning to his old school as an instructor surprises everyone, especially his former teacher, Seo Hye Jin. When Seo Hye Jin asks why he left his high-paying corporate job to teach, Lee Jun Ho simply says he wants to make a lot of money, which disappoints her. She believes his decision is unexpected and has her reasons for feeling this way. Despite this, his application shocks and positively intrigues the other instructors.

Does Lee Jun Ho Get The Job Despite Seo Hye Jin’s Efforts To Prevent It?

Seo Hye Jin didn’t want Lee Jun Ho to work at Daechi Chase Academy because she feared he would face the same difficulties she did. She even asked a colleague to block his application, calling him careless and arrogant. Her real reasons were more complex. Despite her efforts, Lee Jun Ho did well in the written test and lecture audition, impressing the interviewers.

Seo Hye Jin tried to convince him to pursue a different career, leading to a tense conversation. One evening, they met informally where she explained life at the academy. She asked if he would give up, to which he replied no. He said he would apply to a larger academy to teach entrance exams since he needed work, experience, and connections.

She apologized for their previous conversation and then warned him about the challenges ahead. The academy values teamwork and loyalty, but teaching hours are long, and success is hard. Teachers compete for a limited number of students, and students can be demanding and critical.

Seo Hye Jin explained that students might quit or blame teachers for their struggles. Building a class takes time, and there are no guarantees of success. She shared her own experience of 14 years at the academy, helping many students achieve top ranks.

Does Seo Hye Jin Get An Offer From The Rival Academy? 

Seo Hye-Jin received a stunning offer from Choiseon Korean, a rival academy, which wanted her to step up from her current role as an instructor to become their assistant director. They also expected her to bring students from Changyeong High along with her. Though the offer was tempting, Seo Hye-Jin asked for more time to consider it carefully.

After much reflection, Seo Hye-Jin makes a courageous choice to remain loyal to Daechi Chase, her current academy, and declines the offer from Choiseon Korean. This decision underscores her unwavering commitment to her students and her principles. It’s a pivotal moment in the series that highlights her integrity and dedication to education.

What Inspired Lee Jun Ho To Return To Daechi Chase Academy As A Teacher?

Lee Jun Ho decides to return to Daechi Chase Academy as a teacher, driven by his unresolved feelings for Seo Hye-jin, his first love. Despite achieving success in his corporate career, Jun Ho’s deep affection for Hye-jin leads him to make a pivotal life decision. He chooses to re-enter the educational realm, taking on a role that reconnects him with both the academy and his emotions.

How Does Woo Seung-Hee Hinder Seo Hye Jin’s Growth And Progress As A teacher?

The relationship between Woo Seung Hee and Seo Hye Jin is complicated and changes a lot over time. At first, they seem like colleagues who both want Daechi Chase Academy to succeed. But as the story goes on, Seung Hee’s real plans become clear—she wants to take over Hye Jin’s position and start her academy. Seung Hee tries to ruin Hye Jin’s reputation by working with others, threatening to release Hye Jin’s teaching materials, and spreading false rumors about her personal life.

Seung Hee’s secret plan involves teaming up with the director of Choiseon Academy to damage Hye Jin’s reputation. In a meeting with the director, Seung Hee says that Hye Jin is smart, quick-thinking, and talented but also rude, fearless, disrespectful to seniors, and lacking in business ethics. Seung Hee mentions that she has been at Daechi Chase Academy for eight years and seven months. She then gives the director a USB drive containing ten years of Hye Jin’s lecture materials, including past exam questions, test papers, question trends from different teachers, original textbook files, counseling notes, and updated contact information for Hye Jin’s former assistants.

Seung Hee’s ruthless ambition is clear as she tries to take control of Daechi Chase by undermining Hye Jin, though she warns the director that Hye Jin is tough to beat. Meanwhile, Hye Jin stays focused on her work, dealing with challenges from her differing teaching styles with Lee Joon Ho.

Why Does Seo Hye Jin Leave Daechi Academy?

One late night, Kim Jung Young and Seo Hye Jin have a heartfelt conversation. Hye Jin confesses her feelings for him, saying she likes him and can’t imagine her life without him. Jung Young is taken aback and speechless because he had never thought about them being together. When Hye Jin asks if he’s disappointed, he admits he is, but then suggests they could start considering a future together from that moment on. Hye Jin responds that she can’t because her future seems too uncertain.

Jung Young, thinking she’s worried about the students, reassures her that they can bring them back, but Hye Jin clarifies that it’s not about the students or the academy. She then shares that she feels she might quit. Looking concerned, Jung Young listens as Hye Jin recounts how Mr. Kim had bought her a used car the year he got into university, making her feel proud even though she didn’t yet have a license. She was the poorest among her friends, but the car changed her status, and she worked hard, forgetting why she wanted to make money in the first place.

Hye Jin explains that after losing all her students, she was reminded of her initial goals. She tells Jung Young it’s not funny and that everything she built didn’t crumble because of her. Instead, the fog covering her eyes lifted, and she realized she had been neglecting her studies. She admits she doesn’t know how long it will take to finish, and only then can she focus on her future.

In the end, Seo Hye Jin decides to leave Daechi Chase Academy. After the events and challenges she faced, she chose to pursue a different path. This decision marks a significant change in her life, reflecting her growth and the new direction she wishes to take. It’s a moment of closure and new beginnings for her character.

How Does Joon-Ho Finally Win Over Hye-Jin?

Joon-Ho and Hye-Jin’s relationship faces many challenges, including disapproval from Joon-Ho’s parents. Despite these obstacles, Joon-Ho’s dedication and Hye-Jin’s positive influence gradually win them over.

Joon-Ho tries repeatedly to propose to Hye-Jin, but she is reluctant and never gives him an answer. In the classroom, where he taught Hye Jin one-on-one, after pretending to be the student, she indirectly teased him about marriage. He responded, “Not yet,” and then jokingly mentioned that he had already proposed to her and was waiting for her to accept. They both laughed and played along. Then, he moved closer to her, knelt, took out the rings, and proposed to Hye-Jin, expressing his desire for everyone to know she was his and marking a new chapter in their lives. Moved by his gesture, Hye-Jin finally accepts, and Joon-Ho’s parents eventually give their blessing, leading to a heartwarming conclusion to their story in “The Midnight Romance in Hagwon.”