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Pao S.
Professional Teacher
Why is it so difficult to find an English teacher on italki?

I know it might sound kind of aggressive, but I feel really disappointed right now, so I will tell my story as I complain bitterly (if you are not interested, please don't waste your time reading). (I am witting this only as a student).

My husband and I are English learners, and he has been searching for an English teacher (this is more of his story, actually)... He booked trial lessons with 3 different teachers. The first teacher sounded good, but he (my husband) wanted a more organized kind of lesson. The second one was very good, it was a little bit awkward that the teacher didn't turn on his camera (but he offered to do that if necessary, so no problem). The third one was friendly and gave him a nice lesson, so we were really happy thinking that he was the best teacher. At the end of the lesson he proposed different strategies in the future for my husband, so everything sounded great. I even thought of booking a lesson for myself too, because I really enjoyed listening the conversation and the teacher's style...

That lesson happened yesterday... and what a surprise today, when my husband sent him a message asking which of his professional lessons suits better for him?...

The reply left us speechless:

"My pleasure, thank you! I actually think you'll be better off with another teacher, but thanks anyway and good luck!"

We have been wondering for more than an hour: 

Did we offend him during the lesson? Why that sudden change?... His feedback for the lesson was a simple "Thank you"... so that doesn't help a lot either... 

We want to ask italki teachers:

Have you ever refused a lesson from a student? 

If you have, Why? What was the situation like?

We will appreciate if you share your opinion or experience, thank you!

Mar 18, 2018 5:23 AM
Comments · 13

Hello, Pao! Firstly, I'm sorry that you've had some difficulties finding an English teacher, and I hope you'll be able to find one that suits your needs soon enough.

Obviously, I don't know why the teacher you're referring to turned down future lessons, so I cannot speak for him. However, to answer your question, yes, I have turned down student requests before. I will turn a student request down primarily for two reasons:

1) Our schedules don't align. This one is the most common, as potential students have asked me if I could adjust my schedule for them, and my answer is no. I'm a full-time teacher, so I can only teach on Italki during a limited number of hours on weeknights and weekends.

2) I cannot meet the students' goals. I have had students who've wanted me to teach them business language, but I don't speak business language. I have had students who've sought me out specifically for test preparation, but that is not my strength. My lessons primarily focus on conversation and structure, not teaching exclusively to pass tests.

I hope my response has helped a little =)

March 18, 2018

That’s strange. I can only find two reasons

1) if your husband (who booked the lesson) talks English as good as you write it, maybe the teacher was afraid  not to be able to do his job properly with an advanced student

2) maybe the teacher resented that you were present at the lesson of your husband and had the feeling that he should do double work.

These are only hypotheses. I hope you will have better experiences in the future, maybe you should tell when you book that you are two peoples. Personally, as a pupil, I do not like if others persons listen, even casually, to the lesson.

March 18, 2018

March 20, 2018

Hello Peachey, thanks for reading. It was a trial lesson and these are the messages exchanged before the lesson:

  • Hello, (teacher's name) Nice to meet you, I'm (my husband's name) from Japan. I want to become more fluent in English, but I don't know what I should do to improve my English ability, so I'd like you to assess my skill and if possible tailor my lesson. I'm looking forward to meeting you. Thank you. 

  • Hello (my husband's name), thanks for scheduling a lesson! I would be happy to help you improve and will have several ideas as for what you can do to improve quickly, effectively, and enjoyably. xD

    Jonathan, thank you for replying. You reminded me of a situation through which I went some time ago (as a teacher)... A student booked a trial lesson, but we didn't have any language in common (he wanted to learn Spanish, and he can't speak English). I honestly couldn't sleep wondering how I was going to teach him... The time of the lesson arrived and fortunately, my student had a basic notion of Spanish, so we could understand each other, at the end of the lesson I gave him some homework, assuming that we would meet again. He didn't book another lesson and I hope he found a teacher who can teach him better than me. My personal plan was to have a second and even third lesson with him, as long as we could understand each other, and in the case that I found it impossible to explain him something, give him back his credits and advice him to look for a teacher who could speak his native language... 

March 18, 2018

I have stopped a lesson as the student was a complete beginner. As a community tutor (not a professional teacher) I felt this was outside of my comfort zone. I used google translate to explain this to the student and (of course) did not charge for the lesson.

Italki can be a very funny (peculiar not haha) place at times and It's difficult to know someone's situation. I try not to judge, remain conscientious and professional in respect of my own work and not take anything too personally.      


March 18, 2018
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Pao S.
Language Skills
English, Japanese, Spanish
Learning Language
English, Japanese