Standards of Teaching
All teachers who are approved to teach on italki agree to our Teacher Terms of Service. In addition to our Teacher Terms of Service, we ask that all teachers adhere to our Teacher Code of Conduct.
The italki Teacher Code of Conduct serves as general teaching guidelines for all italki Teachers (both Professional Teachers and Community Tutors). The purpose of our italki Teacher Code of Conduct is to:
- Encourage the highest standards of behavior for all teachers in their relationships with italki students by setting out clear statements of expectation
- Provide a set of principles to guide teachers in their everyday conduct and assist them when interacting and teaching italki students
As our teachers come from all over the world and may adhere to different cultural norms, our italki Teacher Code of Conduct has been created based on universally accepted standards of respect and tolerance. It does not cover every specific situation but provides guidelines for ethical and professional behavior.
italki Teacher Code of Conduct
1. Be Culturally Sensitive: Respect the values and traditions of your Students
Until you build a stronger rapport with your student, try to avoid asking the following questions (unless specifically requested by the student) during your teaching sessions:
- Personal life Avoid asking students if they are married and or single (i.e. Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?)
- Politics Avoid asking students about their political affiliations
- Religion Avoid asking students about their religious views
2. Be Patient and Polite
Since students come from different backgrounds and have different language levels, it is important to be patient and polite and help them through their language learning difficulties. Encourage them! Do not discourage them.
- Do not berate, yell or insult students Do not tell them they are dumb or insult their current level of language ability
- Do not use rude or foul language Teach using respectful language and professional courtesy
- Do not lose your temper with a student If you are not sure that you will be able to handle a situation with composure, you are welcome to contact italki Support (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to suggest that the student contact italki Support to resolve the issue.
3. Provide Professional Service
As teachers on italki, students are paying for your services. Teachers must take the initiative in communicating with and managing students. Professionalism includes:
- Responsiveness Be prompt in replying to student questions and sessions requests.
- Responsibility and reliability Maintain your calendar to accurately reflect the times you can be available for lessons. Prioritize the commitments you make with your students, only rescheduling or canceling when necessary and after communicating with your student. If you know you’ll be away and unable to respond to students, take the responsibility to notify your students of your absence and update your profile accordingly.
- Respect for student privacy Recording audio or video of students is not acceptable without the student’s prior written or recorded consent. italki recommends requesting and receiving written permission through italki lesson messages as a way of clearly showing that you have permission. It is a violation of privacy to publicly post a recording of another person without that person’s written permission.
- Initiate lessons on time Teachers should always initiate contact with students, particularly if it is a first-time student. Teachers should be the first to send out the invitation and also be the first to initiate contact and call the student BEFORE the lesson begins.
- End sessions on time Teachers should politely let students understand that their sessions are ending by reminding their session will be coming to a close 5 - 10 minutes before the session ends. You can always politely tell the student you need to prepare for an upcoming session with another student.
- Actively manage your profile Regularly check in to answer messages, adjust your time availability schedule and update your status. As students can view a teacher’s last login time, teachers who actively manage their profile will attract more students. If you plan to take time off, update your profile accordingly to remove yourself from active teacher listings.
- Communicate your policies to your students Please make sure that your own teaching policies conform to these italki Teacher Policies and Code of Conduct, and communicate them clearly so your students know what to expect ahead of time.
- Teach your language Students are paying you to teach them a new language. Do not use this time to practice the student’s native language. Try to give students more speaking time.
Violations of italki Policy or Terms of Service
italki reserves the right to deactivate teaching accounts that are found to be in violation of italki teaching policy. If you are concerned that something you’re doing might be considered a violation, please contact italki Support to ask first.
Major teaching account violations include, but are not limited to:
1. Violations of italki Community Guidelines
italki Teachers are part of the italki Community. Please help us maintain a positive language-learning environment.
DO NOT engage in spamming, disrespectful language, obscenities, theft of personal information, etc. Click to read the complete italki Community Guidelines.
2. Violations of italki Teacher Code of Conduct
As an online educator on italki, language students around the world are trusting you. Be timely, professional, and responsible in your communications with students both on italki and during teaching sessions. italki Teacher Code of Conduct is outlined at the top of this page.
3. italki System Policy Violations
- Provide or post false, misleading, inaccurate, or plagiarized information (includes profile, course content, lesson history, feedback, etc)
- Request others to provide or post false, misleading, inaccurate, plagiarized, or private information
- Sell your services for free or in exchange for feedback
- Advertise or promote competing services
- Do not post private contact information or information that could lead italki students to book or pay for lessons outside of the italki platform
- Neglect to maintain your italki teaching profile with complete, accurate, and updated information
- Manage multiple italki accounts
- Violate the italki Policy and Terms of Service as provided below:
italki Teacher Policies
If you do not agree with the guidelines above and to the policies outlined below, please do not apply to become an italki teacher.
We recognize there are different views on these issues, but these are the official policies at italki, and we reserve the right to deactivate your teaching profile if your use of italki is found to be in violation of these guidelines or policies.
As an italki Teacher, you agree to the following:
The important Teacher Policies have been highlighted below (reference the above documents for details).
Providing your Teaching Services on italki
italki encourages open, complete and professional communication between Students and Teachers. Open communication helps Teachers to develop relevant curriculum and Students to make informed decisions. In the event of a dispute, all written communication on italki will serve as the record for resolution of the dispute.
Provide accurate and respectful feedback. italki provides a feedback and rating system as a means through which Users can express their opinions publicly, and italki does not monitor, censor, or investigate these opinions unless they are brought to the attention of italki Support. If a particular User’s feedback counts as abuse of the system, it should be reported to italki Support (see the Terms of Service for details).
Complete the Teacher registration process, providing true, accurate, complete information. Update your information to maintain its truthfulness, accuracy and completeness. From time to time, your Member Account may be subject to verification as well as editorial and feedback reviews. italki can suspend or terminate your Member Account upon the discovery that any information you provided or posted is not complete or accurate, or as a result of other violations of the Terms of Service.
Guidelines for Creating a Course (for professional courses)
You agree to utilize the following course creation guidelines:
- Write a specific, detailed course outline with clear scope, deliverables and lessons.
- Set expectations that you can meet or exceed.
When submitting your course you agree to:
- Not submit courses or lessons that are made with the intent to commit fraud. Doing so will result in immediate termination of your membership.
- Not offer your Services in exchange for good feedback or for free.
- Respond promptly, within one business day, to private messages from the Student.
- Respond promptly, within one business day, to any inquiry from Customer Service.
Violation of these guidelines may result in suspension or termination of your Account. If you are aware of a potential violation, please contact Customer Service.
Guidelines for Providing your Services
You agree to utilize the following service provider guidelines:
- Once you have received a teaching request, use italki to manage the request and to maintain an electronic record of all written communication between you and the Student around scope, deliverables, time frames, price, feedback, revisions, schedule changes, vacation, availability, delays, acceptance of deliverables and completion of sessions. Also, transcribe relevant outside emails, instant messages, telephone or in-person conversations between you and the Buyer on italki to maintain a record of what is agreed. In the event of a dispute, all written communication on italki will serve as the statement of record.
- Inform the Student of your availability and committed response time.
- Inform the Student if a committed deliverable will be missed, offering an explanation and proposing a revised date.
- Inform the Student if you will be unavailable for more than 1 business day.
- If you are unable to complete a session, alert Customer Service so that italki is aware of the situation and can offer assistance to the Student.
- Respond promptly, within 1 business day, to all session-related communication, whether from the Student or from italki.
- Utilize italki’s Payment Service to maintain the privacy of your personal financial Account details; leverage italki’s anti-fraud measures; maintain a record of all invoices and payments; add the project, feedback and transaction amount to your profile; and, in the event of a problem, have access to italki’s Dispute Resolution process.
- Report any rating system violation by contacting Customer Service.
- Report any students violating policy by contacting Customer Service.
- After the session is completed, leave objective, balanced feedback.
Violation of these guidelines may result in suspension or termination of your Account. If you are found or suspected to be cooperating with another site user who is violating italki or legal policies, then this will affect your account as well. italki reserves the right to suspend or terminate accounts suspected of illegal and/or suspicious behavior. If you are aware of a potential violation, please contact Customer Service to report it.
Cancellation and Refunds
italki encourages teachers and students to communicate, reach an agreement, and settle issues together. However, in the event that a disagreement or reported problem is raised to be a Dispute and italki is asked to mediate, we will use the guidelines outlined in the Terms of Service. italki’s decision on the dispute is final. Please note that in the case of a dispute, it is up to the teacher and the student to provide proof to italki to support their positions.
italki charges a 15% fee on transactions between teachers and students. This figure is also rounded up (there are no partial italki credits).
This fee is charged when a lesson is confirmed by the student.
Why does italki charge 15%?
italki is free for teachers to sign up and create a profile; italki charges an 15% commission per lesson taught. This fee is charged for use of the italki platform and services, and also due to the marketing cost of acquiring new students to the platform. You are only charged when you tutor a session, so you will only be charged when you’re making money teaching on italki.
Do not take students off of italki or accept payment outside of the italki system
italki does not tolerate teachers trying to take italki students off of italki or accepting payments outside of the italki system. Advertising lessons outside of the system or avoiding the italki scheduling and payment systems may be grounds for your account being suspended or deactivated. italki will also confiscate any earned italki Credits, and you may lose access to your lesson and teaching history on italki. Do not do this.
If a student contacts you asking about lessons outside of the italki system, please remind the student that lessons must be scheduled and paid for through the italki booking system, and report the student to italki community management by flagging the student’s account or writing to italki support.
If the student is willing to book lessons through the italki system, this is fine. If the student is trying to recruit teachers off of italki or avoid using the italki booking system, this is not acceptable and should be reported to italki support
Do not promote competing language services
italki understands and accepts that teachers may not teach exclusively on italki and may work full or part time at other language training companies.
However, when teaching on italki, teachers are not allowed to promote or represent these other companies. If you are promoting another company, particularly a competing company, this will lead to your account being deactivated, forfeiture of your earned italki Credits, and deletion of your history.
At italki, if you are a good teacher, there is no reason why you should be working for another company. Quite simply, you should only work for yourself. You should be able to set your own teaching rates, earn your own money and have complete control over your teaching schedule.
CONTACTING CUSTOMER SERVICE
If you need to report a violation of Site Policies, have any questions or need assistance, please contact italki Customer Service as follows: