Instant Tutoring Rules and Policies

Who Qualifies for Instant Tutoring?

Instant Tutoring is a privilege, not a right for both Community Tutors and Professional Teachers on italki.  All teachers and tutors who have completed more than 5 sessions will automatically qualify for Instant Tutoring and can immediately offer Instant Tutoring to all students on italki.  New Teachers need to complete at least 5 sessions before they are allowed to offer Instant Tutoring (Learn More).

The ONLY Instant Tutoring Rule

The Instant Tutoring privilege can be taken away from teachers who do not adhere to the basic Instant Tutoring Rule:

           Immediately respond and accept ALL Instant Tutoring requests          

Students want a great Instant Tutoring experience so when they make an Instant Tutoring request with you, they expect an immediate response from the teacher. To ensure that our students have a positive Instant Tutoring experience, we have instituted the following Instant Tutoring Rules and Policies for our teachers.

What Happens when I break the ONLY Instant Tutoring Rule?

  Teacher Action (or Inaction)


Instant Tutoring request made and the teacher does not accept or decline the request within 10 minutes. 

The teacher simply ignores the request(s) during the 10 minute request period.

  • Instant Tutoring status will automatically be set to “Not Available”
  • Receive one Instant Tutoring Timeout.  This is a negative mark!

2 Timeouts in a row
The teacher has 2 Instant Tutoring request in a row.

Declines 5 requests in a row
The teacher declines 5 Instant Tutoring requests in a row.

italki also has the right to suspect and even disable Instant Tutoring privileges for teachers who violate the italki Terms of Service, abuse the italki Community Guidelines, or violate our Teacher Code of Conduct.


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    I think instant tutoring is a great idea.  I think it will really benefit teachers and students.  If one of my regular students cancels their lesson, is there a way for me to offer instant tutoring during that time?  I tried today, but it told me that I couldn't tutor because I had upcoming sessions.  Thanks!

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    This has good potential, especially for students who don't need much lesson planning.  I'll give it a try.


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    Implement e-mail notifications, please

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    Mr. A

    This is another leap for italki but I suggest an e-mail notification for instant tutoring request. I was online the whole day and when I refreshed my page, I found a missed lesson notification. Has anyone experienced the same thing? Thanks.

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    I don't know if I would give it a try. This system is not flexible enough. Besides, it does not take into consideration the motives why someone would prefer Instant Tutoring over a regular Session. For example, if I need proofreading for an essay before the deadline, I would probably need instant tutoring. Another thing: it is impossible to be available 24/7. Sooner or later, every teacher will have a timeout. ( Are they supposed to be available during the night?) I would suggest another approach: a badge in the availability schedule, indicating immediate availability if required.

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    I like it very much! But maybe because I didn't hear the alarm or my internet is slow, make me to miss a lesson. The time is too short and urgent. But I still feel very glad for instant tutoring.


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    I worry my internet. At least any teachers would not want to miss their instant tutoring lessons, I hope whether the preparation time could be delayed a little.

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    Yeah, these concerns being voiced are the same as I have. I have done one session (as a teacher), but it was quite by chance that I happened to flip back to the iTalki tab on Safari and saw the session. I know that adding notifications can be quite a big job in terms of programming -- so why not just force a pop-up window, which is relatively easy to do I think. One site I know uses a pop-up as a time-out warning. It forces the browser to go back to that tab. Without some system like this that allows teachers to do stuff with iTalki running in the background, they are less likely to stay available to teach, and students are likely to lose faith in teachers here if they keep getting ignored.

    Note that another problem you have is that unless you are actively using the iTalki tab, the system automatically switches to NOT AVAILABLE after a fairly short time. I'm guessing this is what you've done to prevent teachers not noticing -- but a pop-up or some other real-time ping notification would allow more teachers to be on, all the time. Who's kidding who, I would love to do more instant tutoring. But until it can be left running in the background, I don't switch it on very often. 

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    On another site where I advertise, I've given my cell phone number and I get a text message when a student makes a request, and another, ten minutes before a class (this timing can be adjusted by me).  Maybe italki could look into this as another way to notify the teacher.

    Best regards,




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    What if you will receive two instant tutoring? should I accept the two? and the other one will wait?

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    Thanks for all this great feedback, and thanks for helping students on Instant Tutoring! If you have other questions, comments, or suggestions, please send them to