Instructor Handbook

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Getting Started

See our website for information about first steps

Shop Safety & Etiquette

See Shop Safety and Etiquette

HIRING PAPERWORK Instructors: Contract & Employment Enrollment Information

We offer our instructors the choice to be paid as either W-2 Employees or Independent Contractors.

Your choice to be an Employee vs. Independent Contractor and the Paperwork?

  • Contractors make slightly more money but taxes are not withheld from their checks automatically.
  • When you are paid by the Asylum we tell you what your pre-tax pay was. For employees this usually means you will see about 80% of the pay actually deposited and contractors will see the entire amount deposited (payroll is administered by Complete Payroll Solutions who will send you a welcome email with a self service portal login for you to set up: this is how everyone paid by A2 will view your Direct Deposit paystubs!)
  • In addition to a W-4 form employees must also present proof they can work in the United States legally by filling out an I-9 form and having the office staff confirm your documentation. Consult the form to see if you need to present your SSN card, green card, birth certificate, state ID, Passport and or other materials. Be sure to review all 9 pages of the form and instruction.
  • If you are teaching more than half time you may be eligible for benefits and should be an employee. Massachusetts Gov't Employment Guidelines defining the difference between the two:
  • Insurance
    • Employees, individuals who are members, former board members and others acting on behalf of Artisan's Asylum are covered by our General Liability insurance. (Limited to natural born persons - i.e. people but not corporate entities.)
  • LLC or Individual?
    • If you'd like to receive payment for your teaching as part of your business entity, we would pay you as an independent contractor.
    • Independent Contractors are expected to provide their own insurance, and name Artisan's Asylum as an additionally insured.

Forms Required

  • You must be registered on our website before your first class if you haven't already as a member/student. Choose "Friend/Instructor/Other" as your registration type.
  • Once you have an account on our website, log-in and sign our Instructor Agreement online
  • Offer Letter - sign and date and bring to us to sign and date
  • Direct Deposit Enrollment Form
    • Complete Payroll Solutions administers our payroll. You will be emailed instructions to create a "self service portal" through which you will be able to view your own payment details. Payment is "paperless": set this up, remember your login, as this is how you will be able to view your paystubs: online.
      • Please read the form! You will now need to provide a voided check (or some other "bank official" documentation) with your filled out direct deposit form.
  • To work as a contractor:
  • To work as an employee:
    • W-4 Tax Form - fill out first page and return to us
    • I-9 Proof of ID & Right to Work Form - Read this. You will need to fill out page 7, we will need to fill out page 8.
      • The law requires that you bring form(s) of ID to us in person so we can fill out page 8 - there is a list of acceptable documents on page 9.
      • please email teach@ in order to set up a short appointment with us so we may intake your forms and ID.

Private Lesson Reporting

Please make sure the total lesson amount includes materials (if you have a material fee, enter that amount to be broken out of the total).

  • Students will be billed via Paypal via Education. Class will be entered into payroll and paid according to date
  • A2 suggests a one-hour minimum for all private lessons.
  • Instructors enrolled as 1099 will be paid 75% of total amount (%25 to Asylum) of class via payroll the week following the lesson. Materials entered into form will be broken out before this split.
  • Private Instruction Split change going forward for folks enrolled with us as W2 employees. We are going to have to re-adjust the profit sharing margin on the 75/25 split to accommodate for payroll taxes (as we do for your regular lesson payments 45/55%). The new split for W2 enrolled instructors for any private lessons will be 68% Instructor/32% Asylum.
  • Please loop in the Front Desk ( and let them know you are expecting student(s) for private lesson(s). Providing Front-Desk with the student's name(s) will allow your Deskie of the hour to do their job and look up your student to make sure they've registered with us.
  • Please meet your student at the Front Desk as default, if other arrangements are necessary, please communicate with (front-desk@) so they can direct the student.

Expectations of Instructors

Here's what we expect of our instructors:

  • Be organized, responsible, and flexible. Represent our organization well.
  • Be proactive about your class programming in Eventbrite: you have the power to program your own classes and manage students through your Eventbrite access. You have editing power if there are errors / date changes.
  • Prepare a syllabus well in advance - some instructors run a test version of their class (Deskies are a great resource for trial runs of classes)
  • Tell us what you need for the class. That includes:
    • What kind of space you need; quiet, clean, fireproof, etc.
    • What tools you need in the space, whether that's a welder or a projection screen
    • Raw materials issues. Figure out whether you're providing it or if Artisan's Asylum is. If we need to stock up on something, let us know well in advance. Check out the payment for class materials section.
  • Double-check that the course descriptions we publish are accurate: check the links on the website. Check the listing on the Class Calendar you are invited to. Email teach@ with any issues.
  • Be prepared to teach to a wide range of ability and skill levels. If the class has prerequisites, make sure we know them and that they are in the class description.
  • Teach by example: Don't weld while wearing shorts and sunglasses, treat the tools well, clean up your messes, etc.
  • Tell us what skills will your students need to have before they enroll
  • Figure out how much time you need; be realistic in planning what the class will cover in each session - it is better to over-estimate than under (students may have questions after class, etc.)
  • Manage time during classes
  • Help sell the class; see below.
  • Teach your class like someone in it is going to get hooked. Convey the fun, art, love, and passion, show them why they want to do this. You are an Asylum Embassador - enroll people in the Awesome!
  • If an emergency comes up and you will not be able to teach a class session, please contact us as soon as possible at AND our Front Desk at (617) 284-6878. Please also contact your students.

Posting Classes

For instructions on how to post classes to EventBrite, see A2 Instructor Eventbrite Tutorial and/or Eventbrite Posting Instructions

Contacting Students

Contact your students before class.

  • The Education Team will give you access to EventBrite which has your students' contact information.

Promoting Classes

The Asylum promotes in broad strokes through the community, but often it's an individual instructor getting really excited about their class and expressing that in one-on-one interactions that sells spots. Here are some ideas on how to reach out:

  • Make a Facebook event and invite all your friends! Alternatively, write a Facebook note and tag people you think would be specifically interested. If you do either, make them public and send the link to - we'll cross-post it onto the A2 page. Same thing with Twitter or Instagram!
  • Ask individual people if they'd be interested in your class in a one-on-one setting (whether by email or face-to-face). We're all pretty immune to advertisements these days, but simultaneously always looking for stuff to do - if you can get someone's attention and talk yourself up, you might just have yourself a student! Alternatively, if they themselves are not interested, ask if they know anyone who might be.
  • Post online to anyplace that you think is appropriate and would not harm our reputation; please don't make us look like spammers; check to see if anyone else has posted about us recently, and make sure commercial (but not-for-profit) postings are acceptable. Look for online forums or groups that do things similar to what you're proposing, and approach them and see if their members might be interested. For instance, a perfect group for our Forming Sheetmetal class might be LARPers who want to make their own armor.
  • In the past - We had fliers for class that you could download, print, and hand out or post. You're welcome to use these as a model and make your own class-specific flyers. If you make fliers and post them, let us know - we'd love to be able to let other instructors know what's working, what's not, as well as to maximize areas. If you want suggestions as to where your fliers might be most effective, send us a note and we'll brainstorm with you. If you have examples of class Flyers you've used in the past you'd like to share here, please do! Check Flyers for the most current (not very current at all) set of fliers. These fliers were designed to be used as handouts - each is 1/4 of a sheet of paper - rather than big posters.
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