Introducing The New italki Teacher Site



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    I usually don't work on weekends. Yet whenever I have extra time I do INSTANT TUTORING - are you temporarily shutting it down to see if you can force more teachers into opening their calendars on 7 days a week? 

    Are you stopping 45min lessons because you make more money when we teach lessons back to back without ever taking a 15min break? 

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but it feels like you're turning this platform into a sweatshop for teachers so you can increase your profits. 

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    You really seem to want to make it hard for teachers. You remove all of options and individuality based on what, an algorithm?  This used to be a great site. Leave well enough alone. 


    60 minutes should be optional. 

    Instant tutoring should not go away even for a day.

    Informal tutoring is not always '''conversation practice" which shows you don't understand what we do .


    Leave this alone or solicit teacher feedback .

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    ⭐️ Camille


    • No more 45' lessons? The majority of my beginners lessons are 45 minutes lessons, I have had students for a year taking weekly 45 minutes lessons. 45 minutes lessons are great because it allows me to have 15 minutes break between classes.  Unfortunately this is going to negatively affect my teaching a lot.
    • Instant Tutoring will be removed : really ? I agree with the previous comments, it should not be removed even for a day



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    I had hopes :(

    • No 45' lessons? Those are the ones that I'd like to see implemented instead of 60' lessons. 
    • No 90' lessons? 
    • No individual cancellation policies? Especially after removing half of the options? (45', 90')
    • Informal tutoring becomes conversational practice? For every type of student and learning aim? I guess your database tells you informal tutoring is always a discussion. Whatever.
    • No instant tutoring? Why is it removed, even temporarily?


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    English with Dalia

    I don't teach much on iTalki at the moment, but my feedback is the same as what I imagine many others' feedback will be.

    1) About Instant Tutoring: it's a shame to shut this down, as many teachers and students find this a useful tool. I have some students who ONLY use Instant Tutoring, because of the flexibility. If it is removed, I imagine they will stop taking lessons.

    2) About 45-minute and 90-minute lessons: this is also a shame. I have many students who take 45-minute lessons. 

    3) About cancellation policies: I understand if students are getting upset about teacher cancellation policies not being clear. The reason, in my opinion, is that they're not very visible on the page: you have to hover over the question mark to the right, and it's easily missed.

    A better solution might be to keep the individual teacher cancellation policies, but make them more visible on the teacher profiles. iTalki could also review teacher cancellation policies to ensure they are clear and comply with standards. 

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    1. 45' lessons are key to beginners: One of the best features of this website is the chance to do 45' lessons, not everybody can afford 60' lessons and not everybody needs them.I highly believe this will have a negative effect on the way i teach and also on how much i am going to earn, since i think a lot of students are not going to book lessons anymore ( This will obviously affect your earnings as well )
    2. Informal tutoring is NOT only Conversation Practice:Informal tutoring is a great tool for those who want to learn a new language.It is NOT only conversation practice.It also involves helping students with grammar and with lots of different activities, conversation is actually not as popular.
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    Eliaquim Sousa 易尚明 (Edited )

    I have to say you are making it difficult for us teachers to keep working on Italki and having a happy life.


    1) Sixty-minute lessons are extremely tiring when you have two or three lessons back-to-back. Your eyes get strained, your back hurts, and your vocal cords start to suffer. If you do as much typing as I do in a lesson, you even run the risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome. You need a rest. A 10-minute break would be great, but 15 minutes are just as nice. Some teachers only offer 45-minute lessons -- they state that in their profile. Besides, beginners love 45-minute lessons (at least in my case) because they leave the class with a feeling of accomplishment -- they managed to go through a session. I have had students who could not keep a conversation or concentration for sixty minutes. They loved 45-minute lessons.

    Unfortunately, I don't feel comfortable to tell my students that 60-minute lessons are actually 55 minutes long. They have paid for 60 minutes, they get 60 minutes. And if I said I was okay with a 15-minute pause, I don't like the idea of 30 minutes between lessons. It's just too long. I get tired of waiting. And I can't teach as many lessons as I'd be able to. It's a very unhappy change.

    You should actually make 60-minute lessons OPTIONAL as well so that teachers would enjoy more freedom -- since teachers here on Italki are independent contractors (a.k.a. exploited), not registered employees with health insurance coverage.


    2) Do you know what conversational practice entails? Do you really know? You may think conversational practice means having a pair of unattentive ears to listen to what someone says. If that were the case, you could have conversational practice with Microsoft's Cortana. This kind of practice is much more than just paying attention -- it involves a set of time-tested principles, attention to form and content, the retrieval of linguistic information on the part of the teacher, the best ways to offer immediate feedback -- the list could go on. But if you take the reductionist view that conversational practice is just that, sitting down and talking, you are disrespecting professional teachers and community tutors alike. Either professional teachers raise their prices to meet the new standards -- which might drive students away, especially students from countries like mine, where a lesson might cost as much as 6% of a person's monthly income. Or we stop offering this kind of option altogether.


    3) Community tutors being able to create lesson categories means they will have much more work to do -- and they won't be as different from their professional counterparts. I know of fantastic community tutors who are true professionals but chose to remain as community tutors to fend off the pressure they would otherwise have -- they have very busy schedules outside of italki. I am not against their being able to create different course categories -- but I wouldn't do it if I were a community tutor.


    4) Removing Instant tutoring, even if it is temporary, is not a good idea.


    [edited to remove picture -- just saw site will be accessible on April 2nd]

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    Christina Bek

    Can you tell us the reasons for these changes? Instant Tutoring is the reason I choose to work for itali!! I have children and an unpredictable schedule, as do most of the students I talk to through italki. Why in the world would you stop this feature?!!


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    Christi (Edited )

    I'm really disappointed about most of these changes. As many of my fellow tutors and teachers have already stated, removing 45-minute lessons is a bad idea for a multitude of reasons. I hope you will seriously reconsider your choice to get rid of this option. For me personally, it's like the "Goldilocks" of lesson times- not too long, not too short, especially for my students who are children. When I teach for multiple hours in a row, I'm grateful for the 15-minute break I get. Also, are you informing students of these changes, as you did with us, or is the onus on us teachers to begrudgingly tell them we can no longer offer 45- and 90-minute lessons? 

    While I do not use the instant tutoring feature to teach nearly as much as I do to take lessons myself, I'm in solidarity with the others here that taking it away, even temporarily, is going to place a financial burden on those who rely on it. And when exactly is the "new and improved' alternative going to be implemented? 

    EDIT: The fact so many of us are in an uproar over this should tell you something. You're rolling out a bunch of controversial changes that we only have a few days to prepare for. That's irresponsible and insulting. Never before have I felt compelled to write a highly critical post for all to see, but there's a first time for everything.

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    Amy Whitney (Edited )

    Wow italki, I'm so disappointed in how this idea is being rolled out and honestly scared about how this will affect 100% of my students, my business and livelihood. 

    I have two main issues (relating to my own teaching):

    • 45-minute lesson times being removed
    • NO Beta testing or feedback about policy changes for the teachers. 

    Currently, 100% of my students are taking 45-minute lessons. Why? Because:

    • All of my students take professional lessons which need preparation time as well as time to document the lesson tasks covered and what to do in the next lesson.
    • I am not a machine. I need to have a drink, eat, go to the bathroom and have a few minutes to between lessons to regain my focus and be at the top of my game between each class.
    • Consecutive 60 minute lessons are okay for teachers that don't have a full schedule, but working 7-8 hours without a break is impossible on a daily basis. Your top performing teachers that have high retention rates have full schedules for a reason. We are the people that keep students re-booking and coming back for months or years. 


    A note about the cost per lesson factor:

    If you remove 45-minute lessons, you are assuming falsely that all students can and will pay for a 60 minute lesson. I can guarantee that I will lose 75% of my students if I only have my 60 minute rate available. 

    • All students have a budget that they are comfortable with spending when they look for a teacher and pick one.  They picked me due to the price and the type of lessons I provide being a good fit. Changing the price significantly changes that equation. 
    • Italki itself warns teachers about not increasing their prices too sharply to avoid alienating the students with high prices. The increase should be gradual or the same price should be given to past students. How can I do that in this situation?
    • If your lesson price was $20 one day and $27 the next day, does that seem reasonable? --> I would leave the platform and seek a less expensive site AND be very disappointed that I couldn't continue studying with the teacher that I have grown to trust and look forward to learning with.  
    • If the student pays for a 60 minute lesson, they will expect a 60 minute lesson - which I cannot effectively provide for the reasons listed above.


    Second point: No Beta Testing or Feedback from the Teachers

    For months, you have been running a beta site for students to test it; however for teachers, we get an email with 5 days notice with a pile of changes that are going to rock our lives, business and current students without asking a single question? 

    We all appreciate italki as a platform but the appreciation doesn't feel mutual. I feel like italki thinks of their teachers as employees rather than skilled, independent freelancers that italki has an agreement with to mutually benefit by collecting a commission from us. The more successful the teachers are (and the tools you give us to be successful), the more profitable everyone is.


    Other thoughts:

    • Cancellation Policy: If you are changing the 24 hour minimum booking time to 12 hours, I have no problem with a 24 hour cancellation policy. However, if you are keeping the policy the same where 24 hours prior to the lesson is the minimum and 24 hours to schedule a new lesson is the minimum - I am not okay with this. I have a 36 hour cancellation policy just in case I have to enforce it with students that chronically take time in my schedule and cancel within 24 hours leaving empty times in my schedule that would have been filled (I have 7-10 wait times for lessons on average).


    • Instant Tutoring: This is a tool that students love. My husband also teaches on italki and he uses this feature when he needs to attract new students. 50% of the time, students are so excited that they just signed up and they want a lesson NOW. Often times, they like the teacher and will book regular lessons. The other 50% lead crazy lives and CANNOT schedule a lesson. They know they only have time to student in the moment. The instant tutoring is good for both situations. 

    Updated Teacher Policies: Does this mean that we are expected to accept a lesson within 24 hours?

    • Respond promptly, within one business day, to private messages from the Student.
    • Respond promptly, within one business day, to any inquiry from Customer Service.

    PLEASE listen to the comments from your teachers and considering delaying this launch date!! It seems to me that italki is eager to launch the new thing they've developed but I'm certain that most of us would prefer to wait 6 months to have all the features developed that are still lacking (ie. multiple lesson lengths and instant tutoring) and have a smooth transition.

    Can't you just launch it in Beta and get real feedback before making such huge changes? We are still dealing with the disaster of a message system :( This doesn't only annoy teachers, it's super annoying for students that have notifications activated on their phone. Who needs 8 notifications for 1 lesson?


    PS. I tried to load the new teacher site and it's not even loading correctly... (it's been like this since I started typing the message here).

    Edit: Upon further inspection of the new site. I am unable to login to make the changes they are requesting us to make on the profile. Every link I click is leading to a page that won't load or a 404 page not found error. This site does not seem ready to launch. 


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    Anna Green

    I have chosen italki because of its flexibility and tolerant and inclusive policies, but with each updates you cut off more and more functions that used to make this platform flexible and multifunctional unlike other platforms. It seems like you do not realize what your users value you for.
    Depriving us of 45 and 90 min lessons as well as instant tutoring (which I believe was the best feature of this platform) is depressing. I used to feel like I was working for a progressive company that was at least a few steps ahead others, but now it seems like you are constantly degrading and not really listening to your customers. Messaging is still a huge mess after your previous update. I then thought it was the worst idea ever. Now I know you can make it even worse.

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    Please stop handicapping this website even further. I give 45 minutes lessons all the time because of my illness which makes me tired and 60 min is often too stressful for me. I also have had faster fatigue with my voice since a young age which makes 45 minutes a perfect time.
    Also, in practice in find 45 minutes works best for a lot of students, because keeping attention in a private sesson for a student is very intense and 60 minutes can be too long to get the best out of the session. I know this having been a student in private lessons in other areas, like dance.
    Also, as an Informal Tutor who works non-professionally, conversation practice is only one aspect of what I do and doesn't even summarize my teaching style well. I train pronounciation, grammar, vocabulary, expressions etc on the basis of either improvised conversation or actually other methods, like making people prepare talks, phrases etc. Some of my most interesting work is preparing people for tests on the basis of their materials. You will severly limit my chance to get motivated & the right students and interesting lesson time this way.
    Also, I hope you will one day realise all you do is ending up handicapping yourself with these unilateral measures which don't take the people who make money for you into account. Before you take drastic measures, try consulting people from the community. We want to keep our customizable options which makes this site great. We don't want to be forced measures down our throats by people who don't even know how their own site functions in practice
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    I agree with my colleagues that these changes are not good for italki community. These are not improvements but diminishing opportunities both for teachers and students. I hope it is a clumsy joke for April Fools' Day.

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    Eva Widyasari

    What's the point you delete the 45 minutes lesson? As a teacher and as a student in Italki, I get more benefit learning 45 minutes because some people might not be able to concentrate more than that. This will, surely, affects negatively on your earnings, dear Italki. Because less and less students will learn as they only can see 30 minutes and 60 minutes lesson. One is too short, while the other is too long sometimes. 

    I don't know what kind of change you've made recently. But it seems my favorite one is still the old Italki, which was more flexible and friendly user. I just feel that this site just copy other learning websites, which is actually not as popular as Italki. I feel really pity about the changes you've made. 

    Hopefuly, you can consider this in the future. Being original is not bad, really.

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    Sonia Cristofori

    Both students and teachers love 45 minute lessons. They give you a little and yet essential break in between lessons. If you teach 7/8 hours a day It makes a hire difference!

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    I wholeheartedly think that these upcoming changes will have a severe negative impact on teachers, students and Italki itself.
    Firstly, removing 45-minute lessons and 90-minute lessons is unnecessary and, in my opinion, quite foolish, as many students prefer 45-minute sessions and refuse, either because of the price or because of the duration, to book 60-minute lessons. Based on my experience (I have been teaching here for more than two years), students aren't confused at all by the system, thus removing them makes no sense at all.
    Secondly, renaming Informal Tutoring to Conversation Practice seems quite inapproriate, as for many teachers conversation is merely one part of the lesson and during each lesson there's a great deal more that teachers do. It is not just "conversation".
    Thirdly, regarding Instant Tutoring. While I personally haven't used it much, I've spoken with many students and teachers who have told me that Instant Tutoring is an invaluable opportunity for anyone with an unpredictable and busy schedule.
    Finally, the website layout and overall features. When I first joined Italki, I found the website quite simple and easy to use. The recent updates have made it more confusing, slower and more troublesome. This new update, I feel, will make it even worse and will probably put off teachers and students alike from joining the website. I would recommend leaving the website in its current state.

    I ask you to delay this update or at least reconsider some changes. I love Italki but I greatly dislike these changes and I may decide to teach elsewhere should they come into effect.

    Kindest regards,
    A deeply concerned teacher.

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    Olga (Kids & Adults)

    I teach children on Italki. Their type of perception is different from the adults’ one, therefore, for them + 15 minutes = an eternity.
    Didn’t you think about the reasons of providing only 45 minute lessons at school? That’s because they can’t study longer.

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    I agree with the complaints of other community tutors and teachers. These changes are detrimental to our work, and may I point out that if you're trying to sabotage your own platform, you're making a pretty good job. Instant tutoring is so useful! I have lots of students missing lessons because of work and such, this is the perfect option for them, but now I cannot advise them to do that anymore, and I'll have no way to fill up my time when a student doesn't show up. I think you will loose students and teachers alike while instant tutoring is down, because the people using it precisely do it not to have to book a full lesson.

    Now, on something more constructive: if you really really believe that having different durations is confusing (which I strongly disagree with), why not make every lessons 50 minutes? It would leave time for teachers to have a break, and it would still shorten the duration for beginners. Most high school lessons in Belgium are 50-minute long, and I've found this a comfortable duration.

    Reconsider! And don't make unilateral decisions based on what you think is good, talk to us. If anything, this situation reveals a lack of communication.

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    Joe Jackson

    Hi italki, 

    Removing the 45 and 90 minute options surely is just reducing choice and flexibility for the customer? There are students that take 45 minute lessons on their lunch breaks and sometimes a 60 minute lesson is not sufficient to meet the objective of the class.

    Are you really trying to tell us that people don't understand the difference between 45 and 60 minutes? I'm not sure how this complicates the booking process at all. 

    On a positive note the additional categories for Community Tutors is a useful development so thank you for that. 


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    Uncomfortable teachers, and uncomfortable students is not a good idea for the platform!

    Please listen to the people that make this being the best learning platform on the Internet.

    • Removing instant tutoring? Seriously?

    Is that good for you? Is that a problem to keep growing?
    Does this help your students that have no time to schedule a lesson because they're too busy and want to keep learning whenever they have the time?

    • Now, forcing them to have 30 mins or 60 mins only? I think 45 minutes is an important option, so teachers can have a brief break between classes and be 100% to give a nice teaching experience, so the students may want to come back and keep scheduling lessons = MONEY FOR YOUR PLATFORM!

    Is that a problem for you? or it is costing you money offering instant tutoring or the 45 minutes lesson? which I think it's not affecting you but that decision will affect us as teachers and will affect our students = THEY WILL FIND EASIER AND FLEXIBLE WAYS TO LEARN = NO MONEY FOR THE PLATFORM.

    I think is not that hard to understand, so I hope you reconsider these changes and think about the people that make this platform exist and be one of the best learning options by now.

    Don't mess up the great service that you have created by now.

    Do you want to make some changes in the benefit of the whole community?

    OK, why don't you try these changes first:

    • Since the update of the notifications on the messages inbox, I have been struggling with the message service, not being able to read my students' messages because of the loads of unnecessary notifications that I receive.
    • Why don't you create a special option designed only for notifications and stop mixing them with the messages that sometimes we're not able to read?


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    Kae IELTS (Edited )

    This is distressing news regarding Instant Tutoring

    I am displeased. As are the people who have commented above, and no doubt many other teachers using the iTalki platform. 

    Instant tutoring is probably iTalki's greatest and most defining feature compared to other online teaching platforms.
    It encourages a fantastic spontaneity and flexibility in language learning for the students. For the teachers (who, like everyone, live dynamic lives that can change at any moment) it is a great way to work more when the opportunity arises in the moment. 

    We would love to have clearer reasons and more information about why it has to be removed and what your future plans are regarding this feature. 

    I can comprehend the other changes you mention and I don't think changing the name from informal tutoring to Conversation practice is a reflection of what we do. It is likely I will just offer an 'Informal Tutoring' lesson category elsewhere on my profile and turn off my Conversation practice availability. 

    I agree with removing the 90 minute lessons, but not with removing the 45 minute lessons.


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    I would just like to add one ethical note, especially in support of professional teachers:
    as you can see from all the people here who seem worried about their financial situation after such changes would take effect...,

    ... Italki really has to become conscious of the financial, social and moral responsibilities of the business model they have. Italki offers people a way to make money teaching online and many end up having the website as a major source of income. Italki makes money with this as a middle man and actively encourages people to use this website to make money.
    That's fine. People accept paying a middle man to make money, because they need to make money to survive. And this is not the easiest profession when you need to make ends meet. These people are not lawyers, architects, doctors, etc. In any case, Italki offers them a service and many, not all, become dependent on that service for being able to live.

    That means you cannot suddenly, wildly change all kinds of rules in the ''social contract'' you have with these people. These people depend on 45 min lessons or even 90 min lessons, on instant tutoring, they particularly use 45 min lessons to be able to get breaks in their daily schedule, etc etc. Please take your responsibilities seriously. This is more than a hobby website for enthusiasts. You actively propagate a business model and that means you need to be ethical about the people who you make dependent on you.

    I am personally not dependent on this website for my income, but as you can see in this thread, many have this as their profession, and their rights need to be respected and defended.


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    I just noticed that teachers are now required to be online the whole block-off time, waiting for the student to show up, even if we receive no communication that the student is late or going to show up at all.

    This puts all the responsibility to show up on time on the teacher, and none at all on the student to be respectful of others' time, show up as scheduled, or say that they're not going to be there. Absolutely ZERO responsibility for the student to, very least, communicate they can't be there exactly at time planned or at all. 

    This is very unfair to the teacher, because it communicates to the student that our time isn't valuable and that they can just treat us disrespectfully by showing up any time they like, and having us be there, like dogs answering to a bell. Ridiculous.

    As for me, since I am now forced to be online for someone who (in most cases, based on experience) is never going to show up, it's going to make me stricter :

    1) I will charge for any no-shows, when in the past, I might have been flexible, given that I could use the time left over after 15 minutes of courtesy waiting to do something else.

    2) I will not be flexible about ending late. If I'm expected to block off the whole hour for a student who is going to waltz in 20 minutes late because they feel like it, then NO, I will not end later than the scheduled time, ever, because it seems to me that all the accommodations are being made for students with no consideration for teachers. If we're going to be forced to sit around waiting for a tardy student for a whole hour, I don't see why we should give even more of our time, beyond what we were paid for.

    This is extremely unfair to us as professionals.

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    Very depressing news! Most of my students take 45 minute lessons. Please, don’t remove this option! 

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    Alaina Rydzewski

    Please, please consider keeping 45 minute lessons. I teach AND take lessons on italki, and I can tell you from personal experience that there are times that I PREFER a 45 minute lesson! 

    Many of my students also prefer 45 minute lessons. I simply do not understand the necessity of taking them away! Please leave us to choose what we want freely.

    It seems that every time 'changes' are made, they are not what the tutors of italki ever want! How can this be??

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    Alisa Burger

    I really do agree that the 45 and 90 min lesson options should stay with the 30 and 60 min lesson options.

    Not only does it give more opportunity for the teachers but for the students as well.

    Even if they are in low demand, at some point a student WILL request them. Even if it's once off.

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    Austin (Agustin)

    Also, nobody gets "confused" with the 30, 45, 60, and 90 minute options.
    Maybe 90 min sessions have low rate of booking, but I don't believe for a single second that the 45 min sessions have a low rate of booking.
    You guys are just getting rid of the 45 min sessions to try to force people to book 60 min sessions and therefore generate more money.
    This will not happen. As a matter of fact, it will be problematic. Many of our students are also in college, in other countries where the income is considerably less, etc. They're going to switch to a 30 min lesson before they would switch to a 60 min lesson.
    Also, many teachers cannot sit in front of the computer for 3-4+ hours straight. We need that 15 min break in there.
    If this happens, people are going to begin to advertise their 60 min sessions at a 45 min price, then finish the lesson in 45 min and end at the :45 mark, so then even though it's coded as a 60 min lesson, the duration and price of the session is still at the 45 min level. It would make sense if this were to happen at least for regular students that we already have.

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    I agree with other tutors on this one. 
    The first thought that came to my mind when I read about the "changes" was WHAT!? WHY?! HOW is this better?!

    I sincerely hope you review all these changes based on what the TUTORS of italki want, because without us, you would not have a website to run. 

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    Why are you are removing Instant Tutoring? You will lose money and so will the tutors. Also informal tutoring is not always conversation practice, it is sometimes pronunciation or document focussed. This is incredibly disappointing and I will have to look elsewhere to make up for the loss of income due to these changes. 

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    Please keep the 45 and 90 min options. Some students like them a lot. 

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