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Keats and LTL Language School Online


Larry Language Lover
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Larry Language Lover

Has anyone ever tried the Keats 1 on 1 online classes?  What is your opinion?   And what about LTL online 1 on 1 classes?  What was your experience?

Would anyone recommend one over the other option?   Or any other online options?

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I have not tried them, but honestly, what is the point?

 

I can see how language schools are great, if you are in an on-site class setting with other students: you make friends and company for extracurricular activities, you may get accomodation on site, there may be a great learning infrastructure (library, etc), etc...... but for 1:1 there are hundreds of independant qualified teachers on Italki and elsewhere. Why would they be less qualified?  You will almost certainly pay much less for them (no middle man, who collects money).

 

(I am saying this even though I would personally consider attending Keats or LTL once China re-opens for the reasons mentioned above)

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On 6/22/2022 at 7:39 PM, Jan Finster said:

(no middle man, who collects money)

 

Italki takes quite some fees

  1. shitty currency conversion when charging account
  2. extra fee for any payment method
  3. 15% (?) cut from lesson price
  4. shitty currency conversion when paying out to teacher

I hear from my teachers on there that their fees are still the lowest though compared to other platforms.

And you're right that it's probably the cheapest option and there are many good teachers (you may need to try a couple to find a good fit).

 

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On 6/22/2022 at 9:07 PM, jannesan said:

Italki takes quite some fees

 

That may all be true, but it nowhere near the 50% that companies keep. At one of the companies a 1:1 lesson costs 220 CNY (30$), most likely the teacher keeps 50%.

 

15% at Italki is fair IMO. This would be 3$ on a 18$ lesson or 2$ on a 12$ lesson. I am generally happy to give any person, who provides me with a new business opportunity or seminar gig, 15% of my fees. 

 

The problem for many teachers is competition. If you are really good, you can charge more and you are well booked. Other teachers may not be able to make much money.

 

Also, you can, of course, ask the teacher to Zoom with you privately outside of Italki. However, then you need to find a way to pay them. And if there is no good option, then the fees Italki keeps are probably legitimate.

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On 6/22/2022 at 9:36 PM, Jan Finster said:

15% at Italki is fair IMO.

 

I agree 15% is fair. What's not fair is all the hidden extra fees, which make it more like 20-25%.

 

On 6/22/2022 at 9:36 PM, Jan Finster said:

Also, you can, of course, ask the teacher to Zoom with you privately outside of Italki. However, then you need to find a way to pay them.

 

I'm doing this with one of my long-term teachers.  Payment is not a problem, there are some useful providers for this (I use an app called Azimo). What's more difficult (for the teacher) is to arrange times and keeping that in sync with Italki scheduling. We just do the same time every week.

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On 6/23/2022 at 3:36 AM, Jan Finster said:

At one of the companies a 1:1 lesson costs 220 CNY (30$), most likely the teacher keeps 50%.

 

It's worse than that, in fact.  If you look at the job adverts in Chinese, you'll see they get 50-60 yuan per hour to start off with.  For example, see this advert (archived) from That's Mandarin (思道睿 in Chinese):

 

Quote

Full time:

 

1.薪酬结构:底薪 五险一金 课时费 小班补助 季度奖金 节日福利 团队旅游

2.课时费:60-100元/时(按教学能力来划分课时费)

 

Part time:

 

1.课时费:50-100元/时(按教学能来划分课时费,且参与校内晋级考评,随晋级薪资不同幅度增长)

 

The teachers are under contract not to discuss their incredibly low salary with you.  When I went to That's Mandarin, they tried to pressure me into buying a stupidly expensive package.

 

1329910773.thumb.jpg.138bfa78398013e2f0abe6a7a2f8b2c8.jpg1739080818.thumb.jpg.a159d26ce0cab6e8a25cd755a3012f12.jpg

 

Basically, with these private schools, a chunk of your money goes to paying rent on an extremely expensive city-center office---if you're not using the office, why pay its rent?

 

My last school went bankrupt: I lost ~4000 yuan, and my teacher lost her job.  I tried helping her find another job, and despite having a masters and many years of experience, she was being offered 50 or 60 yuan per hour.

 

The schools like to maintain separate identities in English and Chinese.  For example, LTL has the Chinese names 北京邻语堂文化发展有限公司 and 乐特乐文化发展有限公司, and has this website in Chinese (notice how the Chinese identities don't mention "teaching")---this makes it harder for students to put in official complaints, and makes it harder for the Chinese authorities to be aware of their teaching activities.

 

I was a student at LTL in Beijing, and they had multiple sudden and mysterious closures (3 during the time I was there, for weeks or months at a time).  In one case, they told me the authorities were going to inspect an employee's visa conditions, and they suddenly cancelled my classes for 2 weeks (screenshot 1 2; my teacher did not do online classes).  I tried to explain that I'm in China legally, and I have no problem with talking with the authorities.  They still cancelled my classes, and told me that was their lawyer's advice.  They're clearly doing something they desperately don't want the Chinese authorities knowing about (and 北京市出入境管理局 in particular), to the point where they were willing to cancel my classes.

 

Now, if you're like me and you're paying top-dollar for a teacher, you have high expectations of quality.  At the same time, your teacher is getting paid a minuscule amount, so has extremely low expectations of quality.  You're going to have problems.

 

Nowadays, I'm getting into iTalki.  It's so much better than any private school I've had experience with.  I can avoid lock-in packages.  I'm trying out many teachers, and I don't have to go through a whole process to change teachers.  Honestly, I get the feeling no-one on iTalki can help me with the HSK6, but I get plenty of oral practice.

 

PS. You can search for job ads on websites such as http://zhaopin.jiaohanyu.com/.  They're also advertised on WeChat, if you search for 对外汉语老师 along with 招聘.  The last LTL ad I found was this, and the last Keats (昆明济慈汉语学校) ad I saw was this, but they don't provide salary details.

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I've never tried preply.com, but I've seen adds online. May be similar to italki, but this seems to be only for teaching and not language exchange, so possibly some of the more casual teachers are weeded out. May be worth a try.

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