Italki is an educational website for language learners and language teachers. The website allows students of a foreign language to meet teachers, engage in discussions and meet language partners from all over the world. Italki has been around for quite a while now and before i applied to be a tutor on italki, i had previously used the site as a student. Now that i have been tutoring for a week, i can now honestly say that i have learnt a thing or two.

My application began at the beginning of July, where i filmed a video in which i spoke French, German and English, the three languages i tutor for today. I spoke about my teaching methods, what made me stand out from other teachers and all of the other usual questions associated with teaching online. After filming my video, i proceeded to fill out the rest of my application. The application didn’t take too long to fill out but i wanted to leave a positive impression. Fast forward three days, i am standing in Tesco, walking through the aisles with my stepdad when all of a sudden, i receive an email from italki. This was it, i was overjoyed! I open up the email and begin to read the following, “Thank you for your application to teach on italki, unfortunately, your application was declined…”. In short, i was not content. I decided to try again, only to be denied a second time. I vowed that if i wasn’t accepted to teach on italki a third time, i would move on. I read into the reasons i was given as to why my application had been denied and i quickly realised that my application video was filmed hand held to give it more of a, “vlogger” look. I quickly re filmed my video again and sent off my brand new application. Now, it was the waiting game. Three days later i receive an email and this time, i was accepted.

Immediately, i jumped to my laptop and began to set my availability, prices and courses. I was thrilled. In fact, within a few hours, i received my first lesson request. After a day or two, i had received twenty lesson requests. This was so exciting! I was doing something i was so passionate about. My first lesson was scheduled for 6.30am and it was with a Russian girl from the city of Vladimir. I was beyond a nervous wreck that morning but as soon as i began to speak with her and the rest of my students, those nerves settled. After a few days of tutoring, my reviews started to increase and i received a five star rating. This really helped when it came to gathering more and more students. In some cases, my lessons were heavily planned out and in other cases, lessons were extremely casual. As long as students were happy to pay actual money to have a lesson with me… yes, me, i was really excited. I provided all the required materials and if students wanted, i provided homework that was fun to do.

All and all, i have only been tutoring for a week but due to how many lessons i have had, i feel as though i have learnt quite a lot. I have a lot more to learn still but below are some of the things i have gathered from tutoring online:

  • Some students try their luck and after one lesson, will ask that i teach them for free in return for help in their native language
  • When becoming a tutor with italki, you meet some of the most interesting people
  • I much prefer teaching intermediate and advanced lessons
  • I have experienced first hand, the joy of being able to help others achieve their goals
  • I have learnt a lot about the way of life in other parts of the world
  • If you want to make a lot of money on italki, start teaching at roughly 6am and be as available as possible if you want to attract learners from other parts of the world
  • Some students have very strong political opinions
  • There are some students who want the language handed to them on a plate
  • Sometimes it is hard to plan your week or month ahead of time because you don’t know how much you will be teaching
  • If you are passionate about the languages you teach, students will carry on returning
  • You have to encourage your students and point out what they do well in order to keep their motivation up, as well as politely point out their mistakes
  • Don’t start off by charging 15$ a lesson but instead, start off lower and as you have more loyal students and better reviews, then increase your price steadily (not all at once)
  • Your video is the first thing your potential student sees so make sure it is engaging, friendly and convincing
  • Be prepared to have a great time

These are just a few things i have learnt this week but all and all, i have loved every minute of teaching online and the people i have had the great pleasure of teaching, have been very welcoming to the platform. I have been in contact with other italki teachers and they have all been super supportive! If you feel as though you want to pass on your passion and expertise in a language, you won’t regret joining this platform. Yes, there are some downsides but these are things that i can’t change and in the future, i will write more about. If you have a few moments, take a look at what other italki tutors say and be ready to learn a lot more than you will be able to teach.

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