My name is Conor and I have been a teacher in Italki for 1 year and a half. This is my experience.
Italki is an online platform that connects students to teachers. The company is currently based in China but students come from all over the world. My students usually come from Brazil, Spain and Russia. As a teacher you can set your price and the student will choose you based on your profile,intro video and availability.
The first thing you need to do is to make a profile. It is a good idea to complete everything as if you were a new student . You can then apply to join as a teacher(You can find this at the bottom right of the website). Your application will usually be accepted within a week. I have heard of people being rejected. This could be because the teacher is not well qualified, your profile is incomplete or if they simply have too many teachers at that time. There are 2 types of teachers. Community Tutor is for unqualified teachers and Professional Teacher for qualified.
This is very important as this is what a student sees when they chose a teacher. Your profile picture should show your face clearly and you should appear friendly. The video is extremely important. Try to have a well edited video. Plan what you are going to say and speak clearly and confidently. Give a brief description of yourself and your experience and then talk about how the student is going to benefit from lessons with you. Keep it short and do not just talk about yourself. Same thing for your profile description.
You should also think about picking a niche. Do you want to give fun conversation lessons to French people? Do you want to help students with exams? If you speak another language this will help you a lot and you can use this in your introduction video.You should also upload any certificates you have to increase your chances of being approved
Setting a price can be difficult and can cause you to waste time overthinking. It is usually a good idea to start off with a low price and increase it gradually. Check out how much people from your country/niche are charging and find an average price and aim for that. Give a discount for packages (eg10 lessons) as everybody loves a discount and these classes really are your bread and butter.
I usually try to add a new student on Skype as soon as they book a class with me. You are free to use any video tool you like but Italki have been trying to integrate this into their website with “Italki classroom”. Classes are usually 1 hour long but you can also have 30/45 and 90 minutes if you want. Try to keep the classes engaging and challenging. You can give the student homework if you want. It is a great idea to ask your student what she/he would like to do in class and make notes and use this for your classroom planning. Don’t be afraid to give feedback and advice.
It is completely up to you how the classes are planned and delivered. You can send your student a lesson before the class, share your lesson on your screen or just have free conversation. You could also use an interactive whiteboard. Some good websites you can use are teachthis.com or onestopenglish.com.
Pros and Cons – Italki Review
-You can set your own schedule and work whenever you want. Italki gives you great freedom.
-You prepare your own material and you have more control over what you teach. This is important to me but maybe other teachers would be happy to have the material provided for them. In my opinion this makes the class more interesting as you choose the material based on what you and the student are interested in which leads to….
-Great connections with your students. Sometimes, it feels like you are teaching your friends to speak a language and that can be great especially if you are a digital nomad.
– No extra documentation
-You can work from home
-No block classes, You can end up with one class in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening. Sometimes it can feel like you are working the whole day just for 3 classes.
-Your work hours can drop quickly e.g from 20 hours a week to 5 hours. This can make it difficult to plan expenditure for the coming month.
– No benefits/ holiday pay etc
Italki Cancellation Policy
Italki’s policy is that if a student doesn’t give the teacher 24 hours’ notice, then the teacher gets paid. This is left up to the teacher though so you can choose to reschedule a class if there was an emergency.
How to get paid from Italki
At the moment, the best way to get paid is to take your money out using Payoneer. Payoneer charges 3 dollars per transaction and Paypal charges 3% so that usually ends up being a lot higher.
If you are in the U.S you can just make a bank transfer and that is the cheapest way. You can also use Alipay if you are in China.
Overall I really enjoy teaching on Italki and I love the freedom that you get. It is not a stable income job and difficult to live in high cost of living countries but it works well to supplement your income. The students that you get and the fun you can have while teaching are the reasons I will continue to teach online with Italki.
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