Iguana Art Academy


Instructors-to-be, this page addresses questions you may have about Iguana Art Academy. You can also search specific terms below; if your query doesn’t turn up in the search, please contact us and we’ll answer as soon as possible. Thanks for your interest in joining our team!

Pre-Instructor FAQs

What is required to teach at Iguana Art Academy?

We’re looking for instructors that have the following qualifications:

  1. Experience, expertise, and a love for what they’re teaching.
  2. A willingness to produce lessons that meet Iguana’s high standard for lesson quality.
  3. A heart for teaching and reaching students, to see them grow in skills and to see them excited about life through your example.
  4. Agree with the purpose and goals of Iguana Art Academy. See other FAQs on this page and browse our site for more info.

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I’ve never taught an online class before. Am I qualified to teach at Iguana Art Academy?

Yes. Case in point: me (Tim). I jumped into teaching two online art courses for about 35 students despite having had no online experience whatsoever. And what’s more, I am so non-tech it’s not funny. I am intuitive, hands-on, totally at home with a brush or pencil in hand a thousand times more than with a mouse. But you know what? Teaching online is a LOT easier than I thought. Plus, I’ve observed how other schools operate from our our children’s online courses. I’ve designing Iguana Art Academy to be a joy not only for students, but for us teachers as well. In short, you’ll be fine. :)

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How are lessons created for Iguana Art Academy? What skills do I need?

The quality of the Iguana Art Academy lesson presentations is a high priority here at IAA. We’ve found that the following ingredients are essential to creating great presentations:

  1. An ability to effectively communicate ideas, principles, concepts regarding your craft.
  2. A sense of design for lesson creation (PowePoint slide design).
  3. Familiarity with the basic processes of using a word editor such as Microsoft Word.
  4. Even better- experience with using Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote.

If you can learn to use a program like Microsoft PowerPointApple Keynote, or OpenOffice Impress, you’ll cruise. If you don’t know PowerPoint yet, no worries, our Teacher Resources provides you with tools to learn how.

We can also create or polish the lessons for you at cost. The cost for this service will be deducted from your teaching income. Or you can do as some teachers do and hire local help for creating the presentations.

However, creating lessons in PowerPoint/Keynote is relatively easy and quite intuitive. It’s a matter of essentially adding text and images in designated sections of a blank workspace. Programs like PowerPoint and Keynote can make even a novice look good (our founder Tim is proof of that). If you don’t own or have access to PowerPoint or Keynote, OpenOffice Impress is a free alternative.

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How much time should I expect for teaching my course? (Re feedback levels)

Once you’ve created your course, the rest is easy and requires a surprisingly minimal amount of time. We’ve worked long and hard to make teaching at Iguana Art Academy a very efficient and enjoyable experience. Most of your time will be spent creating the lessons for your course. Beautiful, helpful, challenging lessons and assignments are our standard and the key to the success of your course.

Once the lessons are online, your input is focused on feedback to students’ assignments. We offer three feedback levels for our courses (read details here). Here’s what to expect time-wise for each level:

  • For Bronze-level courses: no time at all is required of you, since classes are completely automated, with feedback being among classmates in the IAG (Iguana Assignment Gallery), and not the teacher.
  • For Silver: students receive from their classmates as well as the teacher via the IAG, set up so that you’ll simply comment on students’ assignments, much the same way you may comment on friends’ photos on Facebook. There are 13 lessons per semester (with breaks for holidays). The amount of time depends on the number of assignments.
  • The Gold courses are similar to the Silver courses, but there will be a live class five times per course (about once every other lesson/week.

By the way, not all courses need be offered as Silver or Gold. It’s entirely up to you, the teacher, if you’d like to offer them. Compensation increases for each level. For a class consisting of 25 students, we estimate the Silver class will take you about 45-60 minutes per week to critique your students. Gold courses consist of live feedback sessions lasting about an hour.

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Can you please describe a typical IAA lesson?

Each lesson consists of six segments:

  1. Introduction: quick refresh of previous lesson, set agenda for current lesson.
  2. The Art Life: you share your experiences as a professional artist.
  3. Lesson: teaching principles, how-to’s, concepts of your craft.
  4. Demonstration: you demonstrate the assignment, i.e. the practical application of the lesson.
  5. History: you take your class on a tour at the IMOFA museum to show historical and contemporary examples of your craft.
  6. Assignment: an opportunity for students to practice what they have learned.

Students will log in to iguanaacademy.com to view their course(s), and each week will view a new lesson and receive a new assignment. They’ll view the lesson, which provides all they need to accomplish that week’s assignment. When completed, they’ll upload the assignment to their class’s Iguana Art Gallery or take a test/quiz per your instructions.


After students upload their assignments, they receive feedback from their classmates and you (depending on the feedback option they purchased for your course). Click here to learn more about the Iguana feedback options.

Feel free to view a sample lesson to see the six segments of a course in action.

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Can I view a sample lesson?

Sure. Click here to view a sample Iguana Art Academy lesson.

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How much time should I expect preparing for a course?

At the front end, quite a bit. If you haven’t run away and are still reading this, there’s good news in store.

The key word here is preparation. This is where the bulk of your time will be spent. The rewards for a great course (yours) will be more than worth it financially, and more so, for the blessing upon students through catching a vision, learning new skills, being encouraged, and obtaining hope for their future endeavors. Keep in mind that once your lessons are online, they are used over and over for subsequent signups.

So, what lies ahead for you as you prepare your first course?

  • Establish a purpose for your course.
  • Plan your entire course, divided into 9 practical lessons, driven by your end purpose.
  • Create, do, explain, and photograph 9 demonstrations, step by step.
  • Create your lesson presentations in PowerPoint, Keynote, Impress, etc. We are looking for beautiful presentations that include clear step-by-step demonstrations of assignments, photos explaining what you’re teaching. Our method is “picture book”. This is, after all, an art school. You’ll accompany photos with text (captions) explaining them, guiding students step-by-step through the assignment process, just as if they were turning pages and view photos in a how-to book. We have found this method more effective and student-preferred over videos.
  • Record narration of your presentation slide by slide. This is very easy and straightforward, since you will simply be reading your text. Narration gives our lessons a very personal touch.
  • Submit the presentation along with a written Lesson Introduction and Assignment to IAA admin for upload to the site.

Seems like a lot, but it is very straightforward. However- once your lessons are online, they are used over and over, month after month, one wave of students after another. Your students grow and you reap the reward of your thoughtful, hard work. By the way- once you create the first lesson, the rest become easier since you re-use the template of the first lesson. You’re simply updating the images and text. Most of the though is in creating your course plan (syllabus).

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How are teachers compensated?

Instructors are paid a percentage of every tuition paid for their courses. Three things affect your income:

  1. Number of students
  2. Feedback level (Bronze, Silver, Gold). More info here.
  3. Final price after discounts, promotions, scholarships.

STUDENT ENROLLMENT: more students = more paid tuition = more income for you.  We’ve designed our method, site, and marketing to expose visitors to all the courses we offer for repeat customers (take additional courses). Your first course is a springboard to greater attendance in the future. As word gets out about how rewarding your class is, how awesome and kind you are, families will sign up. Our aim is to reward you handsomely so that teaching at Iguana Art Academy is an enjoyable and profitable experience for you.

FEEDBACK LEVEL: You will be compensated per student at a percentage of whatever feedback level they selected for your course (click here for info about feedback levels). For example, Gold provides more teacher feedback to students, thus you earn more for Gold level courses than Silver or Bronze. Bronze, on the other hand, because it is completely automated and doesn’t require any feedback from the instructor, pays less than Silver.

SCHOLARSHIPS: We want to make IAA available to anyone who desires to learn here, so we offer scholarships (free tuition) to up to 20% of each class (likely maxing at 2-4 students per class of 25). Our goal is that as students enjoy the gift of art we are adding happiness around the world as we share what has been entrusted to all of us.

PAYMENT DETAILS: You will receive your share of tuition directly from IAA to your personal account after the third week of lessons and then the balance after the final lesson.

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Do I need to have all 9 lessons complete before I can begin teaching at Iguana Art Academy?

Nope! You need to have at least the first four completed, and then you need to stay at least three lessons ahead of the students. Of course, if you can complete them before things kick off, it makes it all the more easier for you. : )

Here’s the good news: everything you do for one semester can be re-used for the next group of students. In fact, your course is already loaded and ready to go. The most time-intensive part is creating your courses. You are always welcome to tweak existing lessons as you receive feedback from students for clarification and ease of their use.

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What is IAA’s purpose?

In a nutshell, Iguana Art Academy’s purpose is “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us, and be a positive influence on all who come in contact with Iguana Art Academy.”

We see Iguana Art Academy as an opportunity to bring joy and goodness into peoples’ lives, the kind that makes a difference now and always. We want both students and instructors to enjoy their experience here.

Goodness seems to happen through via seemingly innocuous, inconsequential things: a fresh look at seeing, a kind word of encouragement, a small success. Even the smallest pebble makes a ripple. We hope goodness happens.

Our motto sums it up nicely: Iguana Art Academy is Happiness 24/7.


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Are your courses open to everyone?

Yes, any person, regardless of faith, ethnicity, background, culture- anyone- can take our classes. We do expect students and teachers alike to conduct themselves in a manner that is courteous and respectful to all students and teachers. We also never will impose our beliefs on any student, instead our focus is to provide excellent courses and provide a positive experience to grow and to learn the arts.

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What do you require from teachers interested in teaching for IAA?

We’re looking for teachers that have the following qualifications:

1. Experience, expertise, and a love for what they’re teaching.
2. A heart for teaching and reaching students, to see them grow in skills and to see them drawn to love life by your example and enthusiasm.
3. We promote a G-rated, family-friendly, wholesome curriculum here at Iguana. Therefore Iguana Art Academy instructors must hold to a high standard of etiquette and behavior. Speech and/or content that is indecent is not tolerated. Before contracting an instructor, we do ask for letters of recommendation.

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How much time should an assignment take a student to complete?

Every lesson concludes with an Assignment Guideline that lists the assignment goals, materials, estimated time, and reminders from the lesson to incorporate into the assignment. Most courses seem to average their lesson assignment time to be 30-60 minutes. Some, such as Tim Chambers’ Drawing Essentials course, average that, though some students will spend a few hours each week on their assignment.. You can give your students options in the Assignment Guidelines to devote more time and effort on the assignment if they wish. We will include the estimated assignment time in your course description.

See sample course descriptions on our Courses page.

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How many slides is a typical lesson PowerPoint presentation?

A typical lesson consists of 50-80 slides. Because our lessons contain almost if not all of the narrated text for ease of learning (and to assist deaf students), it is easy to build up the number of slides. Also, the illustrated assignment demonstrations, with images of every step of the process, take up a good amount of the lesson presentation. Here’s a general breakdown of a typical lesson:

  • Title and Welcome slides: 2 slides
  • The Art Life: 3-5 slides
  • Review: 2-10 slides
  • Lesson (intro): 2-3 slides
  • Lesson (demonstration of assignment): 20-40 slides
  • IMOFA (museum) tour: 12-15 slides
  • Assignment Guidelines: 1-2 slides
  • Closing slides: 2 slides
  • Total: 44-80 slides

You may find that you need a few more slides to best serve your students, and that is fine. We will help you get started to maximize your lesson efficiency and students’ growth.

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How does Iguana’s compensation package compare to other online schools?

The payment setup for Iguana Art Academy instructors compares quite favorably due to Iguana courses’ commission rate, scalability, low admin demands, and the minimal time required after your course goes live.

COMMISSION RATE: Based on experience and feedback from those who have taught elsewhere, our commission rate is higher than most we know of. There are site with ultra-low course fees, resulting in smaller commission payments. Instead, Iguana charges more for our courses because we offer a complete experience featuring quality instruction, personal feedback, and a fun, supportive student social network.

SCALABILITY: Because your course is offered repeatedly, the return on your initial course-creation time increases substantially over time. Also, we offer our courses in up to four feedback options ranging from fully automated (no instructor involvement) to semi-automated to personal (one-on-one feedback), Most of your time is devoted to the planning and creation of your course, as with other schools. We offer courses year-round, not just two semesters, increasing enrollment opportunities for your course.

LOW ADMIN BURDEN: Many schools that offer teacher feedback and live instruction often require many hours of admin tasks, such as record-keeping, attendance, grading, weekly staff meetings, required review sessions, etc. Also, with live classes, you will need to accommodate your schedule to theirs due to limited scheduling availability for live web sessions. Time is money, and we have streamlined many tasks for a stress-free teacher experience.

Bottom line, because we realize your time is money, we’ve designed Iguana to be great for students AND instructors by offering higher commissions, scalable course returns, and low admin burden.

Once you’re approved for a course, we will share with you the specifics of compensation.

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