Important Information For All Users (April 2nd 2019)

Comments

475 comments

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    Russian with Karina (Edited )

    Why it was necessary to create the new site at all, which works very bad and introduce new rules without even discussing that with teachers and students, if the old site sutisfied everyone and there was SUCH IMPORTANT opion as INSTANT TUTORING that helps students with busy sсhedule and teachers so much!

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    Rose

    I'd like to say that we should not be required to respond to lesson requests within 24 hours when we have blocked out time. If I'm on vacation, I not only don't want to check my work page, I'm often completely off grid. I don't like to come back to work after vacation and see that I am being penalized for not accepting lessons when I had specifically taken the time off in the system. 

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    Rose

    I'm a professional teacher with a lot of certification and years of experience. I've been teaching on Italki since 2014, and have taught well over 3000 classes here. I'm on Italki and not some other site because I'm in control of every aspect of my work here (which is changing). 

    I have liked Italki (before now) because

    1. I choose my own hours

    2. I make my own lessons

    3. I choose my own prices

    4. I have my own policies (like cancellation)

    5. I offer the length of class I want to teach (45 minutes and 30 minutes)

    6. I choose my preferred platform

     

    Italki is making changes that are negatively affecting teachers. 

    1. I don't like that I am forced to offer 1-hour classes because that leaves NO TIME between lessons. I need a little break. I have asked Italki to offer 15-minute blocks so that students can schedule and leave me a little break, or make the 1-hour classes 55-minute classes instead. Guess what? They didn't listen. 

    2. I saw them implementing a new platform, and I know they are planning a long-term strategy of making us use that platform. I won't do it. I'll quit before I have my autonomy stepped on. 

    3. I don't use instant tutoring, but I want the option available, because students like it, and I might like to use it on days when I'm not busy. They should not take away the options we have. 

    4. I refuse to stay and wait an hour for students. Absolutely not! Academic standards state that the teacher has to wait 10-15 minutes. If the student doesn't show up, I shouldn't have to waste my time. This is absolutely ridiculous. 

    5. I quit a different job because they wanted me to sign a contract saying whatever lessons I made belonged to the school. NO. 

    6. I quit another job because they started trying to control which hours I worked. NO. 

    Bottom line -- MY FREEDOM IS WHY I TEACH HERE! -- and Italki is taking that away. 

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    Sara Jimris

    @Rose, teachers are actually allowed to modify their class length as they wish. I saw a teacher state in her profile that her lessons last 25 and 55 minutes, and I thought it was a great idea so I asked Support if we were allowed to do this and they said YES. I simply put the info in my written profile - it suits me best to offer 25, 40 and 55-minute lessons, just as I do with my own private students out of italki.

    It doesn't solve the booking problem, though, but it's still something. Anyway, I always make sure to leave a 30-minute block in between slots since I need a break between lessons, especially when they're professional ones where you have to organise, find and open loads of different materials beforehand, not to mention the follow-up after each class (sharing materials, leaving feedback, etc.).

     

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    Steve

    I have taken almost 600 lessons on Italki, all Instant Lessons. 180+ in just the past 3 months. As one can imagine, a significant part of my life schedule. To find that my sole method for using the site has been removed, and that whoever in charge at Italki has chosen to conduct the delivery of the notification in this way is simply shocking.

    In a time when the world is so closely connected (and this site, to me, was an excellent example of that) to see how "Italki" is so completely dismissive of the feelings and needs of both students and teachers-it is really a sad day. I put "Italki" in quotes because, let's be clear, they are people just like the students and teachers, not some impersonal corporate entity. The core of language learning for me has been improved cultural understanding. Using language to better grasp the values of others in the world. How sadly ironic that the powers that be at Italki have chosen to employ individuals that make both students and teachers feel so unheard, so ignored, so devalued. The site is all about promoting understanding and improving communication, yet it is clear that the decision makers at Italki don't possess neither those values, nor those skills. This realization makes it easier to end this era and look to begin another elsewhere, but I am just very sad that the individuals in charge of making decisions at Italki are so devoid of the values that the company should embody. Thanks to all the wonderful teachers around the world who have contributed to this project and enriched my life. -Steve

     

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    Valerio Viale

    Please, just stop making upgrades.

    Por favor, deja de hacer actualizaciones.

    Stop alstublieft gewoon met het maken van upgrades.

    Per favore smettete di fare aggiornamenti and give us back instant tutoring.

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    Daniel Borsody

    Thank you for listening to your users, especially the teachers, who are an essential part of what makes Italki great. Here are some comments about this current notification. 

     
    I agree with those who think it is a mistake to remove instant tutoring. If you have something plan to replace instant tutoring, then why not wait until this new feature is ready before taking away this useful and profitable feature?  Why reduce these profits before this new feature is implemented? It seems like a lose for everyone.
     
    I also question the utility of having a separate teacher site. I don't find having two sites to be very practical and helpful. It's seems much more practical and functional to use one site. If there's not a very good reason just to have one site, then why make teacher's toggle between two sites? Being able to quickly and easily to toggle between the student  and teacher is important, but why have two sites in the first place? It would be helpful to know why Italki decided to have a separate site for teachers. 
     
    Finally, perhaps the great wave of feedback about the proposed changes is a good lesson for Italki regarding transparency and openness. Giving more information to teacher's as to why Italki plans to make changes like a teacher website, and getting feedback from users before planning on implementing major changes would led to better and smoother innovations for Italki.
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    Bēnfàng 奔放老师

    I hope the italki team can read every single post above throughly and carefully, and say something and do something. One simple solution to solve the chaos is to: shut down the new page and keep the classic one

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    laogui

    The Teaching Calendar shows only teaching sessions. It omits learning sessions and so is extremely inconvenient for those who like me both teach and study.  At present the calendar in the user view shows both, but I strongly suspect that is going to change.

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    Devin Felts (Edited )
    • I appreciate Italki's willingness to publichs the changes and continuation of various features. I am however extremely frustrated over the message/notification system. I often find myself catching old messages that students have sent, and I often did not see because they're lost in a sea of "30 minutes", "1 hour", etc... messages that flood the student-teacher notification board.
    • I'm not sure if others have experienced this, however I check my lesson requests twice a day, and I've notified two times now since the latest layout change that I have "failed to respond to lesson requests". It's extremely frustrating because I'm very methodical about reviewing these requests and it's upsetting to be notified that my visibility on the marketplace can be effected by this. Perhaps there is some function or page that I'm neglecting, however It tends to happen periodically and seemingly at random.
    • I'm also curious about the reasoning behind removing instant tutoring. Due to my personal schedule, my lessons have to be scheduled during specific times of they day, however it was extremely convenient to turn on instant tutoring during my down time (studying, waiting between unscheduled slots, free time) and help someone who needed a quick conversation because of convenience or emergency. As a student myself, it was also useful to hop on instant tutoring if I really wanted help or clarification on a topic or subject. I think Italki is revolutionizing the way languages are learned and I want to continue contributing to its success, however more input and greater feedback are important for the greater Italki community.
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    Valerio Viale

    That function, instant tutoring, was there yesterday, and it was important. So why should be a problem to activate it back...like now? Remember also that hundreds of your customers are upset by that. Italki is going to lose money, customers, reputation. So why? It is like, Italki says to us: ...we are just feeling like that, we don't care about users, we neglect users, we treat them as cash cows, nothing more.

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    Bonnie U.

    I agree with a lot of what has already been said. We have, yet again, another ridiculous update which is creating so many problems.

    I have also noticed that it seems impossible to edit the descriptions of our lessons. I had previously taken off "informal tutoring" and lumped it in with my professional lessons. Now it seems it has to be available but I am not able to edit the price or anything! Please listen to what we are saying, Italki.

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    Lilian Kung

    As a student who is also a mother with a young child, many times I cannot schedule lessons in advance due to the unpredictable nature of infant/toddler behavior and sleep. I appreciated having the option to schedule Instant Tutoring. I agree with teachers here who have stated that Instant Tutoring is a major competitive advantage over other tutoring platforms. It will be a disservice to many students with unpredictable schedules to remove this feature, and a very disappointing decision on the part of Italki leadership, especially without stating the reasons or context behind the decision. In a gig economy, teachers should be able to fill gaps in their schedules within 24 hours. It benefits everyone, really.

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    Nadia

    CHANGE THE MESSAGING SYSTEM! It's become clogged up with lesson notifications so that sometimes I actually miss when a student has messaged me. I don't need to see those kinds of updates in a message, the previous system was better. I just want to see when a student is messaging me, nothing more! I already get emails telling me when lessons have been completed or whether they have an issue, so honestly I don't need a message telling me the same thing.

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    jon housman

    Wow, I assumed that I must have been one of the very few who used Instant Tutoring, because why would a company take away a popular and useful feature? Guess I was wrong.. 

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    Teacher Bart (Edited )

    I've been meanig to chime in and thank italki for the awesome new site and the many positive changes.  Obviously change is difficult for most of us but from what I can tell, everything is moving in a positive direction.  Nothing is perfect but it's nice to see you listening to us and seeing improvements for students and teachers alike. May we all benefit from the forward progress.  I also used instant tutoring once in a while in fill up slower days, and it often led to gaining long term students, but I'm sure something better is yet to come. 

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    Christina

    I still can't "get" why community pages are gone. Ok, they needed monitoring. Ok, they took up server space. Ok, some people used them for irrelevant purposes. I understand all that.

    I also understand that many users have found this website while searching for various language-related clarifications. Removing those pages means (in my opinion) that fewer users will find out about this website via search results. It also means that if they find their answer on an old page, like the idea of a language-learning community and come here only to see the "find a teacher"thing, they will not register. I hope the other marketing outlets of italki can cover for this loss of users. What I see this days when I put "italki" in a search box is not about languages but about italki as a business.

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    Lisa Osgood

    I have been holding back in responding because I wanted to have time to think about what has happened and try to measure my response in the wake of the shock and betrayal I have felt these last few days.

    I have been teaching on italki for almost six years and in that time I have taught 2272 lessons. In that time, I usually felt like italki respected me as a teacher, took my concerns seriously, and made an effort to help resolve any difficulties in a timely and helpful manner. I even remember a time when italki was gearing up to make some major changes to the site four or five years ago. They actually booked a lesson with me to have an interview between myself and three italki employees to get my feedback about the site and how it could improve. Really. I was the first teacher they talked to in that process. What happened?

    NONE of that applies anymore. ALL of that goodwill I felt was coming from italki has vanished. I am not happy here any longer because:

    1. Taking away Instant Tutoring and the Community has removed nearly all agency from the teachers in finding new students and marketing themselves. I was counting on Instant Tutoring to help me recover from an extended health crisis that meant I couldn't work as much, but they have taken it away on short notice, leaving me wondering how I will pay my bills in a couple of weeks!

    2. Expecting teachers to sit and wait for students who didn't have the respect to at least message that they would be late or absent for the full class time, rather than the standard 10-15 minutes, is unacceptable.

    3. Making these changes suddenly, causing financial hardship in addition to stress and worry, with no regard for the comments and needs of the very people whose efforts make your company's profits, is absolutely outrageous.

    Let me quote italki's Teacher Policies & Teacher Code of Conduct:

    "At italki, if you are a good teacher, there is no reason why you should be working for another company. Quite simply, you should only work for yourself. You should be able to set your own teaching rates, earn your own money and have complete control over your teaching schedule."

    Well, italki... I AM a good teacher, and your decisions and lack of responsiveness have given me AMPLE reasons to work for another company. You have contradicted your own stated values and alienated the very people your success depends on, both students and teachers.

    I will be exploring other options. I have to, I really have no other alternative.

     

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    Anna (Edited )

    It's sad, but I side with you. Because I also remember the times when Italki would be user-friendly and teacher-friendly. We all have seen business giants sinking because of unreasoned, pre-mature decisions... 

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    Ken J

    I will miss the Instant Tutoring.  It was very helpful to me. 

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    Eugene Ramirez

    When I came on to this site, as a new teacher, I was quite shocked to learn that the only way I could get Instant Tutoring activated was to teach a minimum of 5 classes. I believe this presented a disadvantage to "newer" teachers (like myself) who are just as qualified, if not more so, than teachers who had Instant Tutoring activated. I believe it should be fair across the board for both newer and older teachers.

    I think it was a good choice to remove it. If they do end up bringing it back, the feature should be available for "all" teachers, not just teachers who are not new to this site. Just because a teacher completes 5 teaching classes, this "accomplishment" doesn't necessarily prove that the teacher is "ready" to do a quality job of teaching.

    I will also add that this site is getting overrun with "English-language-exchange requests" by students. I think it would be a great idea if Italki "only" allowed teachers to post discussion questions. All those kind of posts are cluttering up the page. 

     

     

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    Cassidy

    At this point I am really interested to know why the instant tutoring feature was disabled.  While I do think it is a grave mistake, there must be some rhyme or reason to it on italki's end that I don't think has been offered to us. At least from what I've seen anyway.  I'd like to hear the reasoning.   

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    Christina

    @Eugene Ramirez

    5 classes are a reasonable way to familiarize ourselves with the platform and fix any technical issues we might be having on a website we just joined. I never thought it was about teaching.

    Also, the posts that are "cluttering up the page" are what brought fame and subscribers to italki: a lively community of people  genuinely interested in languages, who are able and willing to help, correct and mentor other learners, making italki a magnet for such learners and an excellent place for teachers to look for students. Without the community, italki is... just a platform. No reason to re-visit or open a user account. 

     

     

     

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    Susannah (Edited )


    So, WTF is this? When I go to my teacher profile, this is what my schedule looks like. How in the hell is anyone supposed to read that? When I check my calendar in the Availability section, things seem to be ok, however, my teacher profile leaves something to be desired...as you can see. 
    And whose idiotic idea was it to only showcase the lowest price? Change that. Showing the lowest price makes it seem like the teachers' time is not valuable, that they are only worth this cheaper price. It's insulting to the teachers and misleading to the students. 
    The way that you organize (I use that word very loosely) the lesson requests, messages, reschedule requests is the worst, most unprofessional process I have ever seen in my life. Lesson requests and reschedule requests need to be separate from other messages. You can't just group everything together. Also, automated messages (feedback needed, lesson has been confirmed etc) need to be totally separate from messages that the current students, potential students, and others actually write. In addition, I receive new requests via email, but some of my reschedule requests, I did not receive any emails about these. I used to receive emails about every type of request. These emails are very important because I have better things to do than constantly check my italki profile and, being that I'm independent and not an employee of italki, I do not use allow desktop notifications and I have 0 desire for any form of push notifications on my phone. This does not mean that I am not modern or willing to use technology. This means that I choose to place limitations on italki. 
    Taking away individual cancelation policies....another thing italki can put in their collection of idiotic ideas. I will be keeping my current policy of which students will be informed as soon as they request their first lesson. You know, italki, you could actually be professional and allow the teachers to keep their individual policies so that students could be informed of these BEFORE they request their first lesson. Italki doesn't have the ability to take away individual cancelation policies. They are merely unprofessionally delaying the time at which potential students are informed of these policies. 
    99% of my students have left italki fortunately. There are only a couple students who remain because of issues with PayPal etc. My students have done nothing wrong. So, I won't just abandon them and leave them hanging. However, if it wasn't for them, I would be gone today. 1 star to 5 stars? Ummmmm.....0 or maybe negative.  


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    Marc Froidevaux

    Bring back Instant Tutoring. Why will you remove it ?

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    Sergio Barrera

    Instant Tutoring REMOVED? Why?

    They were perfect for teachers who are working with unstable schedule...

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    Susannah

    I agree completely. You should bring instant tutoring back. It's really not a great financial decision on your part. You're losing the opportunity for potential profit from these lessons and could lose thousands of dollars. 
    A note to teachers: What I have done sometimes is just offer instant tutoring myself. For example, I put in my Skype status that I am available from whatever the current time is until 2 or 3 hours later etc. I either list these in my timezone (which my current students are familiar with now) or in UTC. Example "I'm available for instant tutoring. The current time is 6:22pm UTC Thursday. I will be available until 9pm UTC Thursday. First come, first served." Of course, this doesn't allow me to offer instant tutoring to potential students, but it allows me to offer some extra help to my current students. Plus, I bypass having to pay italki's 15%. You're welcome. :) 

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    Paola

    Will it still be possible to transfer money from your teacher wallet to your student wallet?

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    David

    The purpose of this change is still unclear and the added value, whether for us users or for you, guys at italki, looks really vague.

    The disappearance of the community bar just means I won't use your site anymore once the beta site is live.

     

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    Valerio Viale

    So tonight instead of having instant tutoring I just stay there complaining about.

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