Lesson Policy

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46 comments

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    Chris Cook

    That is likely a major difference between us. My specialty is Latin American students.

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    Reuben (Edited )

    Please be careful. I am really worried. I have always told my teacher friends that italki is the best because they respect and protect their teachers but if you are going to allow us to be treated disrespectfully by rude students who come vastly late to a lesson then I am not sure I can stand by what I have said before about you. Do you want to allow students to get away with treating teachers rudely? Is it ok that there is no punishment for being late? Teachers should just put up with this? How long will it be before teachers find a platform that treats them like were treated by you before this new "update"? Waiting for more than 10-15 minutes is tremulously rude. How should we conduct a lesson with a student who doesn't respect us enough to tun up on time? 

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    Tim Kung (Edited )

    It seems the main issue, with the requirement for teachers to wait the entire lesson duration (in order to be paid 100% of the lesson price), centres around respect.

    Truth is there is no way we can satisfy everyone. I respect all your viewpoints and they are valid, but we have decided on what we think is fair to all.

    If a student fails to communicate that he/she will be late, and you deem that disrespectful, you have the right not to teach them in future. If the student is rude to you in any way you have the right to make a complaint against them and choose not to teach them in future.

    If you do not wish to wait the entire lesson duration for the student, you can do so but you won't be paid IF the student disputes the lesson. If the student agrees that they are ok with you waiting 10, 15, 20 etc. mins rather than the entire lesson duration and wants to pay you that's fine.

    As long as there is no dispute, you and the student can agree to whatever you wish.

     

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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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