How to choose a language teacher on italki?

Choosing the language teacher

italki differs from other language-learning platforms in so many ways, but one thing that makes it an amazing platform is that it has so many teachers that you can choose from.

Normally, when you sign up for a language course, you are limited or even unable to pick your teacher. However, having the possibility to choose your teacher can be incredibly helpful to your progress and advancement.

italki offers you filters, trial lessons, and other features that could help you explore your options and choose the right for yourself.

If you’re new to this style of learning, it may seem overwhelming to see pages and pages of teachers. You might get lost in trying to decide with who to book classes, but that is completely understandable.

So, we prepared a few tips that can help you explore and make your decision.

If you are new to the italki platform, you can find out more in our previous article where we covered all the basics.

This article contains some affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost for you we can earn a small commission if you decide to click through and make a purchase.

Start with setting up the right filters

italki has a very intuitive search bar. When you first sign up, the platform will ask you to share which language or languages you’d like to learn, your goals, and some other things that can help them set up the first batch of teachers for you. You can start scrolling from there, but you can also use the filters and set some parameters that would work for you.

italki search bar
italki search bar

For example, you can set if you’re looking for a professional teacher or a community tutor. We wrote about this in our main article, but the difference is that “professional teachers” will make a structural plan for your learning process, while “community tutors” will help you become more conversational.

If you already have a medium or advanced level of some language and you’d like to practice speaking, a community tutor is a great choice. If you’re only starting and need help with grammar, sentence forming, and vocabulary, then maybe a professional teacher is a better choice.

You can also use the filters to pick a teacher from a certain country. If you speak Italian, for example, you might look for a Spanish teacher from Italy so you communicate easier. If you’re looking for a native speaker that speaks your language, you can also set that in the filters.

italki country filter
Set teacher’s country preferences

You can also use the filters to set up the price range you’re looking for or a specific date and time you’re available on.

So, if you start by setting the filters to fit your needs, you’ll eliminate the teachers that don’t fit what you’re looking for. This will reduce the redundancy of the teachers significantly. Now, you can start scrolling and exploring the teachers individually.

Learn how to skim through many options to find a good teacher on italki for you

Even with setting up your search, you will probably have multiple pages to go through, so visiting every teacher’s profile would take too much of your time. Luckily, italki has some basic teacher information listed on the feed that can help you skim through the profiles and see who seems like someone for you.

First, you’ll see if your teacher is a professional teacher or a community tutor. If you didn’t set this up in the filters, you could filtrate them at this point. Secondly, below the teacher’s profile picture, you will see if they have any reviews and if the reviews are positive. The reviews will be in the form of stars.

Teacher profile preview
Teacher profile preview

Next, you’ll be able to see how many lessons the teacher has had so far. If someone is new, italki will give them a little “New” badge so you know that they recently joined.

In this small view, you will also see the teacher’s rates, as well as which languages they speak and/or teach. On the right side, you will find their introductory video. You can also change your small view to their Intro and Schedule and even check those before viewing their full profile.

Tip: Teachers with plenty of lessons are vetted, and you can be sure that they are good and have practice. There’s no risk in booking with these teachers. On the other hand, NEW teachers bring certain risks because they have no lessons, no reviews, etc. However, NEW teachers are more likely to dedicate themselves to you specifically and have a more personalized approach.

How can an introductory video help you pick an italki teacher?

All teachers on italki are obligated to submit an introductory video. This video is crucial because it gives a student an idea of what it would look like to speak with the teacher.

Even though this video is primarily meant for teachers to introduce themselves, it can also help you confirm the technicalities of your lesson. You can use it to check the quality of the teacher’s audio and video.

Another useful thing is to see if you can actually understand the teacher speaking. Are they talking too fast for you, or perhaps, too slow? Are they quiet, so you have a hard time hearing all the words?

You can also see in which accent the teacher speaks. So, if you’re learning Spanish, you can see if the teacher speaks Spanish from Spain or Latin America. The same goes for other languages, like English. Is the teacher speaking British English or has an American accent?

Your choice can be based on your preferences. If you’d like to learn the famous “c” from Spain, you’d more likely benefit from a teacher that speaks Spanish from Spain. But, also, it can be based on what’s easier for you. If you’re more familiar with American English and don’t quite understand British English, you will see that in the introductory video.

Include the human factor when you are choosing an italki teacher

The video has another important mission – to show you the teacher’s energy. This factor is imperative and is maybe the most valuable one. When you’re taking a language course, the teacher will most likely be vetted and experienced.

The creators will choose educated teachers with good resumes to support their professionalism. If that were the only important factor to learning a language, then everybody would have the same chances. But learning from someone also depends on how well you match their energy and how well you work together.

Some people benefit from teachers that put themselves in passive positions and let their students lead the conversation. Others like to be pushed and motivated, so they need someone with strong character that will do this from them. This energy is especially important if you’re choosing a community tutor.

With a community tutor, you’re basically searching for a language pal that can help you learn how to use the language. If your energies don’t match and you feel like it would be awkward to speak to them, then that kills the point, right?

Besides the teacher’s character, the video can also help you see if you have something in common with your teacher. Teachers use the introductory video to share their hobbies, interests, and other things they like to do or speak about. If you share some interests with your teacher, it is more likely it will be a natural conversation.

Pro tip: If a teacher shares what they like to speak about and what you can expect from them, they are probably experienced in this kind of instruction even if they’re new to the platform.

Inspect their profile

Your third step is to click on the profile of a teacher you like and inspect their complete profile a bit better. The first thing that you should do is to carefully read their full description. It consists of 4 parts.

Teacher profile full
Full view of teacher’s profile on italki

The first part is the intro that you already had the opportunity to read in the small view.

The second part is about them as a teacher. Here, the teacher can give a bit of their background in teaching or share how they conduct classes, with who they normally work, etc.

The third part is dedicated to their lessons and teaching style. Here they’ll focus more on how they organize the classes. In this part, the teacher will let you know what you can and cannot expect from their lessons, what they focus on, etc. This description will help you see if the teacher and their style align with your learning needs.

The last part of the description lets you know what materials the teacher uses in their classes. Some teachers use pictures, give out homework, prepare texts or audios, etc. Some use your experiences or only give out topics. It’s really about what you’re looking for, so be sure to read this carefully.

This description can be super helpful in helping you paint a whole picture of how your classes would look like with said teacher, so use it well!

Use reviews and stats to choose a language teacher on italki

Every teacher has reviews visible on their profile that can help you see if their lessons are truly what they say they are.

Statistics show their response rate, attendance rate, and how many classes they’ve had so far. You can also see how many students they’ve thought so far and see if people come back to them.

italki teacher's statistics
italki teacher’s statistics

Reviews are a great way to hear realistic feedback from others like yourself. If there are any negative reviews, be sure to read those too. Sometimes, negative reviews can help you see more realistically, but it can also happen that someone left a bad review without much thought. Reading through them will let you decide if you should take them into consideration.

italki teacher's reviews
italki teacher’s reviews

Besides these, you can also see if your teacher has any certificates.

Teachers can also offer multiple lesson types with different focuses and/or features. These are all visible on their profiles so you can choose the right one for you. For example, some teachers offer prep courses for language certificates, and some specialize in classes for kids, etc.

How do trial lessons work on italki?

Besides all these amazing things italki gave so that students can choose wisely, they also have a trial lesson as the last check.

Teachers can set up trial lessons that are usually shorter than the real lessons and usually costs less. You can find trial lessons for as much as $2 instead of booking a full class for $10.

Use these trial lessons to see if it all fits into what you’re looking for.

If you like the teacher, you can book a full-time session with them, and if not, you can look for another one.

This feature is super helpful and makes the process much less scary. So, use these trials as much as you can; or until you find your perfect fit.

Don’t be afraid to look for other options

If you have already passed all the above steps, and you have started learning with someone, that’s great! But don’t be afraid to change the teacher and find someone else if you don’t receive the value you thought you would. You’re not obligated to stay with any teacher, so don’t do it if you want the change.

It does not have to mean that the teacher you primarily chose is not good. Maybe you started with learning the basics, and now you’re more advanced, so your current teacher cannot help you anymore. Maybe, you started with a professional teacher but would now like to change to casual talking. These are all valid reasons to change a teacher, so don’t worry!

Even booking one class with a teacher and leaving a good review will help your teacher be more visible and acquire new students. You’re learning for yourself, so always put yourself first.

BONUS TIP: If you have the resources, sometimes it’s great to have more than one teacher. Combining different ways of learning can be very helpful if they align with one another. 

We hope this will help you choose the teacher that fits you perfectly and that will help you start your learning journey.

If you’d like to sign up for italki, we decided to partner up with them and provide a special bonus for our audience. So, now by registering via our affiliate link and booking your first class, you will get $10 italki credits.


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Disclaimer: This section contains some affiliate links.  At no additional cost for you, we can earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase.

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