Teachers & Tutors
Italki has an easy way to find teachers. You can take classes with either a professional teacher who has teaching credentials, or you can take classes with an informal tutor. The informal tutor does not have teaching credentials, but is fluent in the language they teach. You can of course search for teachers that teach your target language. They have a lot of different languages to choose from. You can narrow it down based on your price range, schedule, what other language(s) they speak, and where they are from. You can also check a box to get only teachers who teach their native language. You could also choose a teacher based on where they live. Since I was going to Ecuador, I chose an Ecuadorian teacher. Most teachers will have a video on their profile. In their video they will introduce themselves and tell you their teaching style. Some teachers have lesson plans and some do not. If they do not have lesson plans you can either just have a conversation, ask questions, and guide your own learning.
I have taken 5 classes with an informal tutor, and 3 trial lessons with 3 different informal tutors. My long-term teacher does not create any lesson plans. We usually just talk in Spanish about what is going on in our lives. She does not speak English which at times can be challenging for me.
One of the tutors I did a trial lesson with had a materials she used, and she asked me to use complete sentences. She was fluent in English which at times was helpful. Italki allows you to take 3 trial lessons. I used those trial lessons to try to find a teacher who was a good fit for me. Trial lessons are thirty minutes, and can be very cheap.
Lessons & Italki Credits
Most teachers use Skype, but some may use Google hangouts or other communication tools to conduct their lessons. Their profile will indicate which communication tool they use. After the lesson you will get an e-mail asking you to verify that the lesson happened and allows you to rate and review the teacher.
In order to be able to buy a lesson you have to buy Italki credits. The minimum purchase is $10 which buys you 100 Italki credits. You then use your Italki credits to buy lessons with the teacher or tutor you choose.
Scheduling lessons through Italki is super easy. When you sign up for Italki it will ask for your time zone, and when you view teachers' schedules and schedule lessons you see it in your time zone. They also have a calendar that shows you when your lessons are.
Italki also allows you connect to people around the world who want to practice your native language with you or are willing to help you practice the language you are learning for free. You can choose to be listed on the language partner page or not.
Italki hosts a couple of language learning challenges throughout the year. One is a New Year's challenge and coming up there is the language learning Olympics. In the Olympics, you can choose from a variety of challenges to earn different rewards. This is a great way to help you stay motivated!
Italki does not currently have a mobile app. It would be great to be able to access my calendar and schedule lessons from my phone.
If you do choose to be a language partner, you will be bombarded with messages. I eventually changed my settings so I would not be listed because the amount of messages I was getting was overwhelming.
Sign Up Now!
In case I have convinced you that Italki is an amazing language learning tool here is the link. Copy and paste it into your web browser. If you sign up through my link you will get $10 worth of italki credits after you book and complete your first lesson.
Have you tried Italki? Will you try it? What do you think? Comment below! I can't wait to hear from you!