Lesson Policy

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    Tim Kung

    If you aren't familiar with our cancellation and reschedule policies please read this document

    I've copied and pasted it here also:

    italki Cancellation & Rescheduling Policy

    Rescheduling:
    1. More than 24 hours before the lesson start time: Rescheduling of confirmed lessons is only possible if both the student and the teacher agree (this must be done via the italki website and mobile app).

    2. Within 24 hours of the lesson start time: Rescheduling of confirmed lessons is only possible if both the student and the teacher agree. At the lesson end time select "There was a problem", and follow the rescheduling process)

    Cancellation:
    1. More than 24 hours before the lesson start time: Cancellation is only possible if both the student and the teacher agree. Cancellation is handled on the italki website and mobile app.

    2. Within 24 hours of the lesson start time: Cancellation is only possible if both the student and the teacher agree and italki is notified. Both the student and the teacher need to write to support@italki.com and request that italki cancel the lesson.

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    Cedric

    "Truth is there is no way we can satisfy everyone."

     

    Maybe not everyone, but I'm pretty sure you'd satisfy most teachers AND students with just a simple line such as: "Students are expected to be ready at the agreed upon time, or inform their teacher when running late. If a teacher still doesn't have any news from his student 20 minutes after the beginning of the lesson, he'll have to consider it a no-show and may ask the student to pay for the lesson."

    If it's clearly stated somewhere (for instance, here: https://support.italki.com/hc/en-us/articles/360020348654-Missing-a-lesson-and-rescheduling-within-24-hours ), I can't imagine why most students would have anything to say against it. This is totally compliant with what the student Tim was describing as "student good practice" above.

    Even if everything can always be resolved through disputes in the end, I still believe it better to have clear rules to start with and then a possibility for discussion between student and teacher on a case by case basis. 

     

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    Reuben

    Cedric, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep. Exactly. If this is all sorted in the end through teachers saying no and refusing to accept a rescheduling this gives the impression to the student that the teacher is making them pay rather than italki’s rules. If the rules are set up that students are expected to be on time as they expect teachers to be then this problem is solved as long as students know teachers will not wait for students who do not inform them of a lateness. This is simple human decency.

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    Tim Kung

    Valid points and ultimately it comes down to opinion. Why xxx amount of time and not the full lesson time? Why full payment and not pro rata? 

    We have a difficult job of balancing the interests of 10,000 teachers versus 1 million students. I'm pretty sure this debate can go on and on, this isn't about protecting any one side. It's about protecting all users by setting a common baseline.

    Blame it on italki if it makes it easier, these are clearly our rules.

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    Christina

    I'd like to see someone try applying this logic at a cafeteria or restaurant for patrons who order products, take a bite or a sip but need to leave before they finish. They have the right to re-order tomorrow and pay only once, right?

     

     

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    Cedric (Edited )

    In an earlier message, Christina said:

    Is it possible to make an agreement with a student sending them a message on italki chat? Such as:  “Please note that usually I wait only 15 minutes if a student doesn’t warn me about their delay before or at the beginning of a lesson. After this I don't wait anymore, the lesson is not going to happen and italki credits go to the teacher. Let me know if you agree with this condition or not”. This will make a student feel responsible about our lesson. I suppose both the teacher and student have to respect each other’s time and it is not fair to a teacher to wait the whole hour if a student just forgot about the lesson. Of course, if they don’t accept this condition then I will wait for them the whole lesson time.

     

    I believe this is still valid. As far as I understand, we're not forbidden to agree on something with the students, which must include telling them about this kind of policy. It's just not going to be enforced by italki, but honestly I've never seen a student entering in a dispute for a lesson he was "late" to (exactly because in years of teaching, all the "late" students have ended up not showing at all anyway). I suppose it would have been nice for italki to back this but they chose different rules. And as Tim Kung said: "As long as there is no dispute, you and the student can agree to whatever you wish."

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    Tim Kung (Edited )

    This is fine with us and is a good example of teacher and student coming to an agreement which we are in favour of.

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    Brad C

    I'm very glad to hear you say this, Tim, because I have on every one of my lesson descriptions the following:  "Please note that I will wait a maximum of 20 minutes for a student to arrive in the chatroom and begin the class; after that, I will disconnect from Skype and will apply to italki for full payment for the session, with no obligation to re-schedule. I also will not re-schedule or refund ITC credits for classes canceled within 24 hours, so please don't ask me to do this."  Therefore, I have given the students advance warning, and if they still book a lesson with me they are tacitly agreeing to my terms, correct?  So then I don't need to wait the full hour, correct?

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    Tim Kung

    Hi Brad,

    I'd suggest that upon confirming a lesson request you send your students the same description in the event they didn't properly read your lesson description and ask them to confirm they are ok with it. If there is no dispute between you and the student, you do not need to wait the full hour. 

    If there is a dispute then we will make our decision based on italki's policies, not yours. There is always this risk to you, the teacher.

    You will need to be proactive in your communication with your student, ensuring that the student understands you have different guidelines to italki. I would get them to explicitly agree to it and not just assume they've read it and accepted.

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    Teacher Elina

    I feel very disappointed.  A student didn't show up for the lesson. I was in front of the computer all the time.  I left a message on ITALKI for the student that I was waiting. I managed to contact the student via Skype and got just the message " I am not at home" No "sorry" and no "could we please reschedule the lesson because..."  Later on, the student requested the money back and I declined with the explanation why. ITALKI sided with the student and returned the credits to her. I feel humiliated. I am not going to play with the screenshots to defend myself every time I meet an irresponsible student I will be sending messages on ITALKI every 10-15 minutes confirming that I am waiting.  

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    Florian K.

    @Cedric I agree with you.

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    Florian K.

    @Teacher Elina I experienced the same thing recently. I was waiting in the classroom for 10 minutes, sent numerous messages. The student requested a refund.  I was waiting for an hour when that slot could have been booked by another one. The student claims that she prefers skype but she did not indicate skype as a tool of communication. I think that students should be fined for absences, the same as teachers. This is an awful experience for a new teacher here.

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    Florian K.

    @Teacher Elina Screenshots are really useful especially when a dispute can happen. I took screenshots every time there is a lesson here. Why? You can never tell if a student will tell a lie that the class never happened. The same situation happened to me. I was waiting , waiting, waiting. Now, I did not agree with the refund and sent all the screenshots to the team. 

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    Mike Moore (Edited )

    As a teacher, I agree I would strongly prefer the option to cut off waiting after a reasonable time such as 15 minutes, because for me it is very distracting to be unclear about how I'm using my time.

    But I would say that overall it is fair to require being available for the entire time AND then getting the full payment.  My not feeling comfortable waiting to find out what happens is ultimately my problem.

    As long as there is absolutely no problem getting paid for the no-show --  including that it doesn't take a great deal of additional time to do so -- I don't think I can say it is unfair.  (I'm about to find out as I'm writing this during my first no-show :-p)

    For me, if I want a different rule badly enough, that means a different workplace.  If I don't like students that come very late, I won't reschedule and won't accept their requests again.

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    Patricia (Edited )

    There is one huge problem with rescheduling lessons... Once you've done it students are starting to have emergencies every week. I stopped rescheduling within less than 24 hours.

    Teachers have jobs, other responsibilities and life. I have students asking me to reschedule for 3 am my time because they are my clients and they think I have to adapt to them, they often try to push the class 30 min or 1 hour. Teachers don't have time for that!  We are losing time and money (as well as Italki). If I refuse they are often offended and they never come back. Italki policies are not clear at all. 

    Time is money, and our time is limited to this one particular hour on the schedule. Italki SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR THAT ALL CANCELLED OR RESCHEDULED LESSONS (withing less than 24 hours) SHOULD BE PAID. That's common sense. 

    ITALKI this is just an example, a student cancelled 1 hour before for no reason. He contacted me directly via Skype (and I refused to reschedule): 

    "I'm not home. I don't have time. I have time tomorrow so you must reschedule. There's option to choose after the class to say 'not complete, and return the credit or reschedule' but I mean we don't go through that route as tomorrow's class is already rescheduled between us. I am not going pay for new lesson".

    THANK YOU ITALKI!

     

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    Cedric

    I suppose it depends on the way we tell them we don't accept last minute changes. In more than 5 years on italki, I've always been firm on my policies and I can swear it went quite smoothly so far. The message Patricia quoted above is, to my humble opinion, completely abusive and I'd be glad to get rid of such a student. Let's not forget that in that situation, italki will obviously give all the credits to the teacher (and if the student doesn't like it, that's just sad for him, but what can we do?).
    When I'm asked to do less-than-24-hour-ahead changes, NO MATTER what's the alleged reason, I remind the student that I never work this way (but that they have total flexibility up until the 24 hour window) and offer to send them an offline activity that they can do on their own to get some practice at least. Most are happy with that option, and none ever complained. I'd also prefer a clearer message on italki's policies but to be honest it never came to become a problem so far.

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    Tim Kung

    @Patricia

    Follow Cedric's example and be polite but firm.

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