Lesson Policy



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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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    You are welcome :)

    I gather that each one of us teachers have different ideas on the nature of our services. It is good to know that.

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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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    Christina (Edited )


    I have several objections.

    I don't feel I work in isolation. I talk with teachers and students (italki and other places) all day long, I discuss matters with my offline colleagues and I participate in workshops etc about my job. How is that isolation?

    If my students ditch italki because of a bad experience with another teacher, then it means they do not value my efforts and they don't find them worthy of staying. Well... Farewell!

    Am I a lesser person than dentists, hairdressers, plumbers, courier delivery drivers? Doesn't my train leave when I'm late?

    Most important, that is not stressed enough here for italki to "get it", is the contempt towards teaching. I am hired to teach a certain amount of language points for a certain learning purpose. I am not hired to smile and wave at the camera.  I am very much insulted and offended by this requirement. What exactly does italki think I'm selling? Seriously.


    @Tim [edited] 

    Point 5 shouldn't be judged in a case-by-case? It seems you only take conversational classes and your level is not beginner. I'd love to see how would you cope in a 60' professional beginners' non-conversational class where they only speak your target language, which is radically different in structure from yours.

    "Where are you from" is a legitimate question, in my opinion. It is used for a lot of prepositions, vocabulary, structure and other learning objects. The student is free to answer "from Mars" as far as I'm concerned. 

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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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    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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    Chris Cook

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

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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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    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

    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)

    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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    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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    Margherita (Edited )


    Honestly, I don't feel contempt from Italki. They are selling a service provided by us, so if we don't provide this service, which has been paid in advance by the student, not only we but also they will lose reputation. I really don't feel mistreated. I would be if I was forced to give free lessons, cheaper trial lessons, two hours of availaibility instead of one, etc. or if I had to adapt to compulsory teaching methods and materials or if they allowed students to mistreat me, but luckily it's not the case.

    In any case, I liked the exchange of viewpoints, thanks! :)

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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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    Christina (Edited )


    I was replying after I saw the message in my email, so I thought it was the italki member Tim Kung I was replying to. I'm happy to edit that part. My mistake, I rushed to reply. As for the rest of my comment, you can read it as written in the 3rd person and then we can discuss the validity of my argument. If I must admit I made a discriminatory comment, I would put it as 'partially informed', not racist. Feel free to ask my students.

    Anyway, I insist on my view about use of target language and general everyday questions. I'd like your viewpoint on that, regardless of my wording.



    I agree about the information we can gather from in-italki interractions. I was, however, referring to a bigger picture, compiled by opinions of collegues and students (and me as a student) under several conditions. This picture, I think, is quite representative of teacher-student communication, maybe more than this of limited scope of italki.

    Also, what about contempt from italki (as I receive it)?

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    Chris, fair enough. Sure, if my student is from Venezuela (or even another place that isn't in such a dire situation, but still has problems with infrastructure), I'm not going to be unreasonable about missed lessons or lack of communication. However, if the person is from Western Europe or North America, as are the majority of students who can afford my lessons, there's very rarely an excuse for not sending a message saying, "Hey, I'm running late."

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