Teacher Policy
(Last Updated on 31 August, 2020)

If you want to offer Teacher Services on the italki Platform, you must read and agree to be bound by these policies for Teachers ("Teacher Policy"). Capitalized terms (including the term "italki") used but not defined in this Teacher Policy have the meanings ascribed to such terms in our Terms of Service, which is available at www.italki.com/tos (the "italki Terms").

If you do not accept this Teacher Policy in full, you are not authorized to teach on the italki Platform and you are not eligible to receive any benefits from italki for any Teacher Services you provide.

This Teacher Policy is designed to encourage the highest standards of Teacher behavior in their relationships with Students by setting clear expectations, and to provide the principles to guide Teachers in their daily conduct when providing Teacher Services and interacting with Students. However, our Teachers come from all over the world and are thus accustomed to a variety of different cultural norms. As a result, this Teacher Policy attempts to adopt universally accepted standards of respect and tolerance. This Teacher Policy does not attempt to address every potential situation that could arise when Teachers interact with Students on the italki Platform, but instead provides principles for ethical and professional behavior that can serve as guidance regarding italki expectations.

1. Teacher Registration and Service Description
1.1 Teacher Registration

In order to become a "Teacher", you must first submit a complete application together with a copy of your passport or other official identification card issued by the applicable government authorities through the italki Platform ("Teacher Application"). Your completed Teacher Application will be evaluated by italki for approval. If your Teacher Application is approved, your Member status will be changed to "Teacher", you will have the ability to create and manage a Teacher profile on the italki Platform, and you can begin providing "Teacher Services", including offering and providing paid lessons ("Lesson") to Students.

To the extent permitted by applicable law, italki may obtain (i) background check reports from public records or through third party venders regarding matters such as criminal convictions or sex offender registrations, and/or (ii) identity verification check reports. As a condition of applying to become a Teacher, you agree and authorize us to use your personal information, such as your full name and date of birth, to obtain such reports. In order to obtain such identity verification check reports, you further agree and authorize us to provide the copy of your passport or official identification card you submitted with a third party vender, such as Sum&Substance.

1.2 Teacher Services Description

All Teachers must create a description of their Teacher Services on the italki Platform. When creating the description of your Teaching Services, you agree to the following:

  1. Write a specific, detailed service description with clear teaching scope and Lessons;
  2. Set expectations that you can meet or exceed;
  3. Do not offer services with the intent to commit fraud, provide services other than those outlined in your description, or offer any services in exchange for positive feedback or at no cost;
  4. Do not advertise any third-party teaching service, platform, software, or application; and
  5. Do not include any personal contact information, including but not limited to, email, telephone number, or social media account number.
2. Teacher Services Guidelines
2.1 Teacher Service Request

Once you receive a Teacher Service request from a Student, you agree to the following:

  1. Use the italki Platform to manage all Teacher Service requests from Students;
  2. Respond promptly to all Teacher Services related communications, whether from a Student or from italki;
  3. Maintain a record of all important details of the communication between you and the Student. For the avoidance of doubt, communication may be conducted via emails, instant messages, telephone or in-person conversations, and important details generally includes information related to the scope of your Teacher Services, your time frames and availability to provide any Teacher Service, your price, your feedback to Student, any schedule changes, any delay of providing your Teacher Service, and completion of Lessons; and
  4. Respond to all Teacher Services requests with accept, decline, or propose a time/date change. Do not ignore Teaching Service requests and allow them to expire.
2.2 Lesson Policy

All Teachers are expected to comply with the following policies when providing a Lesson:

  1. Commit to your scheduled Lesson. A confirmed Lesson is a commitment you make with a Student. Reschedule or cancel as a last resort and only after you have communicated this with your Student. If you know you will be away and unable to respond to Students for a certain period, take the responsibility to notify your Students of your absence and update the availability information on your italki Account profile accordingly.
  2. Make records. Teachers should maintain a record of all important details of communications with the Students pursuant to Section 2.1(3). If there is a dispute between Teacher and Student, italki will request both Teacher and Student to provide evidence in the format of screenshots, and such screenshots shall contain all information related to such dispute, such as the date, time and other communication details.
  3. Start Teacher Services on time. Teachers should start any Lesson at the time scheduled with the Student, and should initiate contact with the Student, particularly with a first-time Student.
  4. Connect with the Student. Teachers should connect with their Students on the agreed communication platform well before the scheduled start time for the Lesson. Don’t wait until the last minute.
  5. Waiting for a late Student. If a Student is late for a scheduled Lesson, the Teacher should wait for the Student until the end of the period for the scheduled Lesson. The Teacher should be available to start the Lesson at any time during the scheduled period for the Lesson. The Teacher is not, however, required to make up for lost time due to the Student's late arrival.
  6. End Lesson on time. Teachers should politely let Students know that their lessons are ending by reminding them before the end of the Lesson time period. You may politely tell the Student that you need to prepare for an upcoming Lesson with another Student.
  7. Rescheduling a Lesson due to Student’s absence. If a Student fails to attend a Lesson and requests to reschedule the class, it is the Teacher decision to agree or reject.

Additional Information is available at Lesson Policy.

2.3 Cancellation and Rescheduling

If you will be unable to provide your Teacher Services at the time previously agreed between you and a Student, you agree to (i) immediately inform the Student that you are unable to provide your Teacher Services at the scheduled time, and provide the Student with an explanation; and (ii) immediately inform italki customer service. If you were unable to inform the Student in advance due to an emergency, you are required to give an explanation to the Student as soon as you are able to do so.

After obtaining the consent from the Student, a Teacher may cancel or reschedule any scheduled Teacher Service (including a Lesson) at any time that is more than 24 hours before such Teacher Service is scheduled to start. Canceling or rescheduling a Teacher Service must be handled through the italki Platform, and by following the cancellation and rescheduling process.

Except in the rare case of true emergencies, no Teacher Service (including a Lesson) may be cancelled or rescheduled by a Teacher or Student within 24 hours of the start time for such Teacher Service.

2.4 Payment and Feedback

After you provide any Teacher Services, you agree to the following:

  1. Use the italki Payment Service to handle all financial matters related to your Teacher Services; and
  2. Provide helpful, objective, balanced feedback for the Student.
2.5 Additional Guidelines

You also agree the following additional guidelines in connection with providing your Teacher Services on the italki Platform:

  1. Maintain the privacy of italki Students pursuant to the italki Privacy Policy, including refraining from requesting any personally identifiable information from Students, such as birth date, age, government issued identification number, phone number, or home address;
  2. Maintain the privacy of your own personal information, including details related to your Teacher Wallet (as defined in the italki Payment Policy);
  3. Maintain records of all invoices and payments in connection with your Teacher Services;
  4. Cooperate with italki in any anti-fraud actions and in resolving any disputes; and
  5. Report any violation of the italki Terms or any other italki Policies, including misuse of ratings and feedback.
3. Service Standards
3.1 Be Culturally Sensitive

Respect the values and traditions of your Students. Unless specifically requested by the Student, please avoid asking about the following:

  1. Your Student’s personal life. For example, do not ask a Student whether he or she is married, or whether he or she has a girlfriend or boyfriend.
  2. Your Student’s political affiliations. For example, do not ask a Student whether he or she supports a particular political party or ideological view.
  3. Your Student’s religious affiliations. For example, do not ask a Student if he or she believes in God or identifies with a particular religious group.
3.2 Be Patient and Polite

Since Students come from different backgrounds and have different language abilities, it is important to be patient and polite. Help them through their language learning difficulties. Be encouraging, not discouraging.

  1. Do not berate, yell at, or insult a Student. Do not tell a Student he or she is dumb or insult their current level of language ability.
  2. Do not use rude or offensive language with a Student. Instead, use respectful language and speak to Students with professional courtesy.
  3. Do not lose your temper with a Student.

If you are not sure that whether you are able to handle a situation with composure, you are welcome to contact italki customer service for help, or to suggest that a Student contact italki customer service to resolve an issue.

3.3 Be Professional

Teachers must take the initiative in communicating with and managing Students. In addition to the Teacher Services guidelines described in Section 2 (Teacher Services Guidelines), Teachers are expected to provide Teacher Services in a professional manner, which includes:

  1. Being responsive. You should respond to messages from Students promptly. When you receive a Teacher Service request from a Student, you should respond within 48 hours OR before the start time proposed by the Student for the Teacher Service (whichever is sooner). The italki Platform will send you notifications when a Student send you a message or a Teacher Service request, but we recommend that you login to your italki Account at least twice a day to check and respond to messages and Teacher Service requests.
  2. Actively manage your calendar and profile. Maintain your calendar to accurately reflect the times you are available to provide Teacher Services. When you login to your italki Account, you should check and adjust your time availability schedule, and update your status. Students can view a Teacher’s last login time, so Teachers who actively manage their profile will naturally attract more Students. If you plan to take time off from providing Teacher Services, update your profile accordingly so that you will be removed from active Teacher listings (please see: I need to take a break from teaching on italki. What do I do?).
  3. Respect Student privacy. Recording audio or video of a Student is not permitted without the Student’s prior written or recorded consent.
  4. Teach your language. Students are paying you to teach them a new language. Do not use this time to practice the Student’s native language. Instead, give Students more speaking time.
  5. Provide accurate and respectful feedback. italki provides a feedback and rating system to allow Students to publicly express their opinions to their Teacher’s instruction quality. italki does not monitor, censor, or investigate feedback and rating posts unless a problem is brought to our attention. If you believe a particular Student’s feedback or rating is improper, untrue or violates italki Terms or italki Policies, please the incident to italki customer service.
4. Violation of this Teacher Policy

You are expected to perform any Teacher Service in a manner that satisfies the teaching standards described above and results in a consistently high level of Student satisfaction. You are in breach of this Teacher Policy, if you:

  1. Fail to deliver any Teacher Service for which payment was accepted;
  2. Fail to take reasonable efforts to resolve a dispute with a Student;
  3. Create unacceptable levels of Student dissatisfaction; or
  4. Violate any italki Terms or any other italki Policies.

italki reserves the right to take any of the following actions at any time and in its sole discretion:

  1. Cancel your listed Teacher Services;
  2. Limit your italki Account privileges;
  3. Adjust your Teacher Wallet balance and/or freeze or suspend your Teacher Wallet;
  4. Suspend or terminate your italki Account; or
  5. Contact law enforcement or seek legal remedies.
5. Teacher Content

The terms of this section regarding Teacher Content applies to all Teachers providing Teacher Services on the italki Platform, in addition to the terms of Section 10 (Member Content) of the italki Terms.

5.1 Teacher Content Ownership

Any articles, video or any other materials used in your Teacher Services or submitted to the italki Platform in connection with your Teacher Services, such as your introduction video (the "Teacher Content"), constitute Member Content. As a result, pursuant to this section and Section 10 (Member Content) of the italki Terms, you own the copyright to your Teacher Content, and italki does not claim any ownership rights in any Teacher Content.

5.2 Student License to Teacher

You hereby grant each Student who purchases your Teacher Services a right to use, view and copy your Teacher Content that you use in providing your Teacher Services to such Student solely for personal and noncommercial educational purposes. You acknowledge that all of the representations, warranties, license grants and other provisions contained in Section 10 (Member Content) of the italki Terms apply to all of your Teacher Content that you submit to the italki Platform.

5.3 Italki License to Teacher Content

In addition to the license you grant to italki to use, view, copy, modify, distribute, publish and otherwise exploit your Member Content (including your Teacher Content) pursuant to Section 10 (Member Content) of the italki Terms, you hereby grant italki a license to use your Teacher Content (including your introduction video) and information about your Teaching Services in marketing, advertising and promotion of the italki Platform in any medium. For the avoidance of doubt, italki may publish your introduction video to italki’s official channels in third-party video hosting and streaming services, such as Youtube, Vimeo, Youku. italki will remove any Teacher introduction videos from our official channels on third-party video hosting and streaming services upon written request from such Teacher sent to italki customer service. You also grant italki the right to use your profile name as part of our marketing, advertising and promotion of the italki Platform.

6. Prohibitions

In addition to complying with the restrictions regarding improper use of the italki Platform described in Section 11 (Restrictions) of the italki Terms, you agree not to, and will not assist, encourage, or enable Students or other Teachers to:

  1. Provide or post false, misleading, inaccurate, or plagiarized information on the italki Platform, including in your Teacher profile, course content, lesson history and feedback.
  2. Fail to establish or maintain your italki Teacher profile to ensure that it contains complete, accurate, and updated information.
  3. Provide your Teacher Services for free or in exchange for positive feedback or ratings from Students.
  4. Provide your Teacher Service, including offering and providing Lessons, to any "fake" Students that uses italki Account created by yourself or any third party to drive up your lesson counts and ratings in bad faith.
  5. Forge or alter your education background, curriculum vitae, work experience or certificates.
  6. Advertise or promote third party language learning services.
  7. Encourage or allow Students to work with you outside of the italki Platform or accept payment outside of the italki Platform. If a Student asks you to provide Teacher Services outside of the italki Platform, please remind the Student that lessons must be scheduled and paid for through the italki Platform. You can report the Student or contact italki customer support (please see: How do I report inappropriate or abusive behavior).

In the event that you violate the prohibitions set forth in this section, italki reserves the right to immediately suspend or deactivate your italki Account. italki also reserves the right to confiscate any earned italki Credits (as defined in the Payment Policy), and you may lose access to your lesson and teaching history on the italki Platform. If you believe that others have violated these prohibitions, or if you are not sure whether any specific actions would violate these prohibitions, please contact italki customer support immediately.

7. Contacting Customer Service

If you wish to report a violation of this Teacher Policy, italki Terms or any other italki Policies, or have any questions or need assistance, please contact italki customer service as follows:

Online Support: https://support.italki.com

Online Report Form: http://support.italki.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

Email: [email protected]