Michael J.
Do Italki teachers usually teach for the full hour? Is it customary for Italki teachers to teach the full hour?

This puzzles me because I often see profiles of teachers with many hour-long slots (sometimes as many as 6 or even 8 or more!) booked in a row and I'm just trying to figure out how the heck that is humanely possible. I work on another site which has 25-minute classes so I get a 5-minute break between students (tends to be closer to 3 because I'm very conscious about not "short changing" the student and sometimes it takes a minute or two to come to, what seems to me to be, a natural stopping point). Even still I tend to take a half hour off after every couple of hours or so. Perhaps I'm just lazier than most.

But I've literally looked at hundreds of profiles on Italki and only once do I recall seeing a teacher write that his hour-long classes were 50 minutes.

Also it seems to me that the 30 minute option isn't very popular here (why not? I'd rather practice speaking and getting feedback on such twice per week than once per week, four times > twice).

Many teacher's don't offer it and even when they do (oftentimes at roughly 3/4 of the hourly rate so it's understandable that the hour-long rate would be preferable. Even still when I see teachers who offer 30 minute lessons at only slightly more than half their hourly rate the vast majority of their bookings are for an hour) their schedules tend to show that the overwhelming majority of their students are booking hour-long slots (some teachers offer 45-minute lessons, but I assume when I look at their schedule it would appear the same as an hour-long one).

Just hoping to get some feedback from more prodigious students and teachers on this site.

Students: Do your teachers tend to stay with you on Skype for the full hour?
Teachers: how do you work for hours on end (those of you who do) without significant rest periods (say: 10 minutes)?

Thank you all.
Mar 25, 2019 2:27 AM
Comments · 8
I feel exactly the same as you, Michael. As a teacher, if I taught 7 to 8 lessons per day without any breaks (most of my lessons are my regulars at home who never even cancel) , I'd go crazy. It's not a temporary job for me, I have been teaching for over 20 years, so I have to keep it sane. Unfortunately, the italki system does not allow teachers to offer 30- or 45-minute lessons only. At the beginning, I asked students to book 45-minute lessons, but still they booked 60-minute lessons. So I put information in 3 different places in my profile that lessons are 50-minutes long. It's not ideal, though, because when we finish the lesson they can't mark the lesson as complete and leave a comment because the italki system thinks we are still working together. I don't mind waiting, but I guess my students might get the feeling that I've finished the lesson too early - even though I try to be as transparent about lesson duration as possible. 
March 25, 2019

Like any human, I understand teacher's needs, but as a student when I have booked a 60-minute lesson I expect a 60-minute lesson. It is completely OK for me when the lesson continues 58 minutes, I can accept if sometimes the teacher will ask for a 55-minute lesson. Any delay up to 5 minutes is completely OK for me, but a longer delay creates problems for me because I have a very busy schedule.

I have mostly never booked 30-minute lessons, because it is too short, and to have 25-minute lesson has no sense at all. 

I don't like when teachers offer 45 or 50-minute lessons in their profile because it is difficult to compare prices with other teachers. Lessons of these teachers look cheaper when they do not. If the whole platform works with shorter lessons we should accept it, but in another case, it is a little bit cheating.

Teachers, who need a rest can have a window between lessons. I understand that many teachers do not do it because students sometimes cancel lessons.

March 25, 2019

Answering as a teacher:

I am very lucky to have the most understanding students on the platform (because I am in touch with many teachers and I hear horrible stories) for accepting me being some minutes late because I have 3 or 4 lessons non-stop. I do have students from Italki and private students. Sometimes they even offer to finish a few minutes earlier because they assume I am having another student after them. I try my best to make a full hour lesson and I would say that 98% I am successful with that. But the truth is, I don't get to have a break when I have these on a row lessons, what I do is to quickly go get some coffee or a quick toilet visit that doesn't even take 30 seconds and then I am ready. And I won't lie, I just L.O.V.E getting requests for 45 minute lessons  ♥ 

As to 30 minute lessons not being popular, well, actually I, as a teacher, get very few requests for 30 minute lessons and as a student I would never buy those. Time flies quickly, not enough time to have a proper conversation or give explanations. Suddenly you notice that time is up.

As a student, I always try to understand my teachers' side and I don't get mad, bothered, irritated if they are a few minutes late due to other lessons or because they needed a break between the lessons, finishing the lesson with 50 minutes would be a turn off if i bought an 1 hour lesson, 55 is okay, but if the teacher is going to finish at 00:50 then I will prefer to buy 45 minute lessons because those should be the full time, no excuses and I would be (expectedly) paying cheaper. 

March 25, 2019

I have never seen inside an italki teachers interface, and never will.

But I believe rightly or wrongly that teachers can mark in their calendars their available times. So that all they have to do is to mark every two or three hours as unavailable; for 30 mins or an hour. Let me know if it is correct or not?.

I suspect your problem is to do with English lessons; due to the vast overwhelming number of people seeking cheap or free English lessons.

March 25, 2019

As a student:

I understand that teachers are humans who need breaks etc. Still, when I book 60 minutes then I expect 60 minutes. It is no problem when the 60-minute lesson has a tag on it: 50 minutes, 55minutes or whatever. Then I know and take this into account. But a teacher (like anyone else) who is more than very exceptionally late, is no option for long term serious matters. I know that in some cultures this is not seen as a problem... but for me and many of my Japanese, Chinese, American, Swiss, German, and Scandinavian students it is.

As a teacher:

First of all, I try not to do anything that would annoy me as a student. Being as much a student as a teacher, I am well aware of the many little things which could matter... So, when I offer a 60 minutes lesson, it is 60 minutes. Being late is a no-go, so I start on the second (ask any of my students). When there is another lesson directly after this, I also finish on the second. To be able to do this without being rude or abrupt, I indicate my lessons as 58 minutes, at least I used to. Now, I usually have breaks between lessons, so I can be flexible at the end. Actually I don't care too much for the time, because each and every lesson is fun for me.

General remark:

IMHO, any lesson length shorter than 45 minutes is just a waste of time and energy. Focussing on the learning process, ideal online lesson length is anything between 60 and 120 minutes. This is the limit for students. A teacher can go much farther.

From my point of view, time slots of 15 minutes would be perfect in italki. So, a regular lesson would be 4 units, and lesson length could vary: 45, 60, 75, 90 ... minutes. This would also open the possibility to have 15 minute breaks. Now I have to choose between non-stop and 30 minute breaks which are too long and too short at the same time...

March 25, 2019
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