Introducing The New italki Teacher Site



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    italki (Edited )

    Thank you for providing us with constructive feedback about the upcoming launch of Your suggestions will help us to improve italki and also our future communications.

    Our long term plan is to improve the user experience for students and allow teachers to market their services better. We strongly believe that this will be beneficial to all our teachers and students. However, we understand that removing or updating features may have an impact.

    We are reconsidering these changes and will inform you of the outcome next week.


    Teacher Services

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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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    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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    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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    Dalia Goldberg

    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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    • 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    Luciana Pegoraro

    terrible... but after all they've been doing lately I only see bad things coming from this site.

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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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    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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    I do not think it's fair to teachers to remove the individual cancellation policies. It's impossible for another student to book a lesson if we follow italki's 24-hour cancellation policy, so it's a loss for us, and some students do abuse of it. 

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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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    College&Career-Troy (Edited )

    I agree with the Informal Session now being called Conversional. Too many students where abusing that category and expecting more for a lesser price.

    I think Instant Tutoring should return with a mobile push notification. If there could be a category setting for an Instant Session to be conversation only, a mobile push would allow teachers and tutors to teach anywhere at anytime on demand. More would avail themselves.

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

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    College&Career-Troy (Edited )

    I meant that perhaps we could be allowed to categorize what we will teach in an Instant Session. Not everyone can give a formal session in an Instant.

    Also, Instant Session pricing could be categorized to justify differing price points.  Thus attracting more students with lower pricing if they only want to have a simple conversation rather than a full lesson that takes more effort.

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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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    @College-Career Troy

    Informal could simply mean "not towards a certificate", "not in a specific timeframe", "no homework", "I just need to drill my past tense endings" and many other lesson varieties.

    It certainly doesn't mean what I myself had to endure as a student here: tutors commuting, cooking, shopping or watching tv while I was trying to listen to them over the noises. 

    When students try to get more off of an informal lesson, they never get a second lesson.

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    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 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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    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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    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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    By the way, I also don't see how removing the 45- and 90- minute options make anything less confusing. I was never confused about them, and while I don't offer them, I do prefer booking 45-minute conversational lessons. More is simply too much for me. This will make me book less frequently which is a loss for the teacher, sadly, but or you as well.

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