I can’t believe it’s been 7 months since I started teaching German online 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 in China. Language learners can use Italki to find language exchange partners or to book lessons with the teachers.
Teaching languages online 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 speakers 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. Professional teachers can offer both informal tutoring and more formal classes, while community tutors offer only informal tutoring.
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. If you are thinking to apply as a professional teacher or community tutor on Italki, 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.
Setting up teacher profile on Italki
As an online teacher on Italki, you have a lot of freedom what to charge and when and what to teach. You can offer only individual lessons or lesson packages of 5-50 lessons. For packages, you can offer a discount to encourage students to book more lessons. You can create your own language courses, and here only your fantasy is the limit. You can simply teach a course to reach a certain level, conversation lessons, language through music, exam preparation etc.
To attract new students, you can offer discounted trial lessons. They are 30 minutes long and can give the student a good idea of how online lessons work and if you are a good teacher for them. And you get paid fully for trial lessons also.
If you have a Youtube channel or a blog that potential students could benefit from, you can link it in your profile. For example, I put a link to my German learning blog and German word of the day Instagram. It really makes you stand out between other teachers and I am glad that Italki, unlike some other teaching platform doesn’t forbid sharing external resources.
For every lesson except the trial lesson, Italki withholds a 15 % fee. I find this percentage reasonable for the services it offers. You don’t need to worry about finding new students and scheduling the lessons with each of
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
I can’t really think of the things I really don’t like about Italki. Sometimes, the website can be quite slow and the interface might be a bit confusing in the beginning. 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. Also, the Italki app is still a mystery for me and I gave up on using it after a few days of trying. I find it easier to log in to website from the phone instead of using the app.
There are some other things I don’t like about teaching languages online, but they are all unrelated to Italki as a platform.
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.
*some of the links in this post are referrals. If you register on Italki using them and purchase a minimum of $10 USD in Italki credits, you will get extra 10$ in Italki credits after your first lesson.