I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since I started teaching on Italki. I feel like it was just yesterday when I applied to become a teacher. At that time I had no idea what to expect from this new job. I saw some Italki reviews from people who are using the website to learn new languages, but I couldn’t find any reviews from teachers who are actually working on Italki. And I remember how much I needed it, just to read about someone’s else experience of teaching online. So now that I am no longer new to this platform, I decided to share my experience with everyone who wants to start teaching languages on Italki.
If you hear about Italki for the first time, here is some general information. Italki is a language learning network that connects students and language teachers. The website was launched a long time back in 2007. Language learners can use Italki to find language exchange partners or to book lessons with the teachers.
Teaching languages on Italki
For teachers, there are two ways to work on Italki: as a community tutor or as a professional teacher. Community tutors are native speakers or advanced in the languages they want to teach, but they don’t have a formal education or experience in teaching foreign languages. Professional teachers must provide documents showing their training or experience as the language teacher. They can offer both informal tutoring and more formal classes.
I hold a degree in German philology, so I registered as a professional teacher on Italki. I believe that your success on the platform depends a lot on the language you are planning to teach. For some languages, there are already so many teachers and tutors that Italki sets a limit for applications. So before applying, check if your language is open for applications at the moment.
I decided to offer only German and Ukrainian lessons. German seems to be popular enough and I can’t complain about not getting enough students. At the same time, there are not too many teachers, so competition is not too bad. After my application was approved, I was surprised at how fast I got my first students. I am not sure whether I was just lucky or Italki uses some algorithm that helps newly registered teachers to be easily discovered. But already after the third or fourth week, I started getting more lesson requests that I could handle, so I had to raise my rates. In the last 3 months, I had on average 70-80 lessons every month.
My advice for the new teachers on Italki would be to keep the price lower and schedule as open as possible in the beginning. This strategy helped me to notice some clear trends in the lesson requests I was getting. For example, my evening and weekend schedule was always full because many students prefer to have lessons after work. Also, most of my students live in Europe and North/South America. Even though I was not happy to work late in the evening, it helped me to build my profile and get reviews in the beginning, so now I can be free in setting my schedule and still get enough students.
For every lesson except the trial lesson, Italki withholds a 15 % fee. I find this percentage reasonable for the services it offers.
There are a few ways to withdraw money from Italki. I personally use Payoneer. With Payoneer, you can withdraw money from Italki two times a month, which is convenient enough. You can also transfer money from your teacher wallet to student wallet and use it to pay for language lessons on Italki. I love this option and use it to pay for my Hindi classes.
The cons of working on Italki
Finally, the things I don’t like. When I just started writing this post, I wanted to complain about the lesson confirmation system. The students used to have 7 days to confirm the lesson or report the issue, and the money would be transferred to the teacher wallet only after the lesson was confirmed complete or 7 days were gone. It was very inconvenient at the end of the month when you could still have some lessons unconfirmed and need to apply to withdraw the money from Italki.
But today I saw the notification on the website that this time will be reduced to 3 days. It will be great if it really happens.
Another thing, Italki website can be quite slow sometimes and the interface is a bit confusing. There were some changes to the interface in the last couple of months and every time I had difficulties figuring out how to access some features.
There are some other things I don’t like about teaching languages online, but they are all unrelated to Italki.
In general, I like working on Italki and recommend it to everyone who wants to try out online teaching. If you have more questions, just ask me in the comments. And let me know if you would like to see a post with tips for new Italki teachers.
*some of the links in this post are referrals. If you register on Italki using them and take a lesson, we both will get 10$ in Italki credits 🙂