Cost = $0? Nope

Browsing the list of class offerings, I see a bunch of them are listed as “free” but when you read the class description, there is a cost. I don’t mind paying for the materials, but why does the class say “free” if there is actually a cost?

The price on the event is what you might be paying directly to DMS at the time of registration. Many instructors are providing their own materials, so you’re paying the instructor at the time of the class.


This is a limitation of the current calendar.

Before I took a hiatus from the space, as part of the rewrite it had been discussed adding extra fields to the classes for transparency - I got a very lackluster response so haven’t bothered.

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m an instructor and let me try and explain it.

There are three options for instructors:

Free class - collect nothing from students and they don’t pay anything.

Pay directly to instructor- this option isnt really in the system for instructors so we have to set “free” and collect on our own for materials/time. Which is why you see free and then a charge in the description.

The third is pay directly and the funds are donated to the space.
Like if I charge $5 for a class and the system prompts the student to pay that money doesn’t go to the instructor, it’s considered a donation to the space. I do this when I teach class with consumables (paints, anything that can be emptied). I look at it covering and reimbursing the space for the supplies the space purchased for my class. Some committees will purchase teachers supplies so sometimes we like to have the funds going back to the space.

Hope this helps!



Ah. That makes sense.

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That’s too bad. I think it would make things clearer to know that you’re paying the instructor directly or DMS. (also, there’s generally no link to venmo the instructor, so I guess we just show up and figure it out on the day?)

Instructors who are charging, either for the class itself or for materials, will usually make it clear what type of payment they take.

In this option, the understanding is the teacher isn’t taking honorarium, thus the prices are a lot higher than honorarium classes. The system just doesn’t expressly say that. (Nor does it prevent it either, afaik it’s the education team that has to catch it if anyone is doing it)

I wish that was clear on the class page. It’s definitely frustrating to see a class listed as free or $5 and then instead in a para it’s $30 :woman_facepalming:. Some also have contradictory amounts listed.

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Hi! I teach classes at DMS.

Teachers can sign up for honorarium, which gives them $50 if 3 students attend their class with a maximum of 6 classes taught per month.

There are several issues with this process. One common one is that the class will be completely full, but then when the class actually starts, only two people show up because of no-shows or late cancelations.

One thing people have done to get a better chance at reaching the minimum 3 student attendance is to increase class size, but depending on the area, we are limited by the number of tools we have. For example, there’s only 4 small lathes in woodshop, so only 4 available spaces for a class.

For me, I teach classes where there’s only one machine available and I believe in hands-on learning so that means when one student is on the machine, everyone else has to wait. Small class sizes are ideal for my classes/teaching style.

Another issue is that when teachers sign up for honorarium, they must submit a W-9 form with full name, address, and social security number to a company contracted by DMS called Jitasa. Back when I tried signing up for honorarium, I asked Jitasa where I could securely send my W-9. Well, they accidentally sent me a link to a folder with every teacher’s W-9. I had full read access to every teacher’s full name, address, and social security number. I worked with DMS’s Board of Directors, CTO, and Jitasa to eventually get that link inactive, but DMS is still contracted with Jitasa and I never ended up trusting Jitasa with my W-9. I doubt Jitasa wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

There are some really kind souls in DMS who will volunteer to teach without any expectation for compensation, but those classes are far and few. Most people like to be compensated for their time. We’ve had so many teachers completely stop teaching, because they couldn’t get to the 3 student mark. It just didn’t justify their time to drive 45 minutes out here and show up to teach a “full” 3 hr class where only 2 students show up paying only for materials.

As a teacher, if you want to get compensated for your time without going through the honorarium system, you have to work around the limitations of the calendar system. Teachers will often have the actual cost of the class in the class title and also in the description of the class. It’s not an ideal process but just something we have to work around as students and teachers.

There are some classes where there are different teachers who teach the same/similar class who offer the classes at different costs, so you could wait for a lower cost class if that ever happens.

Whether I am a student or a teacher, I believe in fairly compensating people for their time.


I taught in the past, mostly pre-COVID. It was definitely a different world.

Used to be, if you taught a sign off class, as long as you had 3+ students signed up 24 (or 48?) hours prior to the class you still got your honorarium. That way for classes where we only have one of a machine and have to limit total students the teachers didn’t get screwed. But that ended after the whole ‘a handful of people teaching 40 classes a month’ thing. I stopped mostly because of the Eventbright thing though, I didn’t want to handle my own refunds.

AFAIK the policy is either you take the honorarium and charge only for materials at cost or you don’t take honorarium and you can charge.

My biggest issue with this is, for $5 I can be ok with a fun project class that might not be super well taught. I’ve attended some bad classes in my time at DMS and some excellent ones, and personally I am not super interest in dropping $30-$50 to see if the instructor is one of the good ones :frowning:. So I’d love to see class reviews and more detailed syllabi and photos. And honestly I took some of those affordable project classes just to meet other makers and have some fun at the space, I think there is room for both kinds of classes, the casual project and the more serious instruction.
Honorarium also has a minimum class time so as to avoid low effort classes I think?

I wish we had more transparency on what goes into the cost of classes. Like $X for this supply and $y for that supply, and $Z for teachers time with the option to BYO supplies. I also just like to know if a class is paid or honorarium and sometimes it’s difficult to tell. I don’t mind people ‘charging fairly’ if there is transparency, but also if $30-50+ classes are going to be the norm moving forward, having a ‘teacher review’ page where students can post visible reviews of class would be nice (that would also help differentiate the teachers who teach the same classes but charge different prices like you mentioned :slight_smile: ). As well as contact information for teachers on the class page. A lot of the project classes don’t have photos of what the end goal is.

Re: W9, that does seem super sketchy and concerning. Bike yikes. How are teachers reporting their income from teaching if they aren’t doing honorarium? Especially with some of the pricier classes, that can add up with total students X classes taught. I hadn’t even thought of that while I’ve been considering whether to teach again, definitely something I will have to consider. Not taking honorarium also means the dept taught it isn’t getting their $50 allocate right? or is that not a thing anymore.

I know at one point one issue was people doing private teaching or small classes and charging $$ but then not paying back the committee for the use of the tools and space to teach in. So that’s always a quandary, if a teacher is teaching for ay, $50 a student, should that teach owe for the use of the tools/space they are making that income from?

Edit: To be clear, I’m not saying that people shouldn’t charge whatever per student, just that with the trend having gone that direction, some rules/templates for the events/calendar would be nice so it’s easier for students to see the same information in the same places across the board. I saw one class that said free and then only had that there was a cost in the ‘cautions’ area that is supposed to be for safety info.

edit edit: also, I think it’s a little bit of, I see classes I took pre-covid for $5 listed for $40 and have to wonder what additional students are getting for that cost increase. I’m guessing this gen of instructions is simply not taking honorarium but I was confused at first after we started to actually get some classes on the calendar post-covid because I didn’t realize that was what was happening :smiley: :d :rofl:


I am in complete agreement. If the board decides to make decisions around this eventually, I would be thrilled to come back on just to get the calendar showing this kind of info xD

When I’ve brought some of these up in the past there has been complaints about privacy, discouraging teachers if they are rated low, issues with having no shows be penalized, etc - I understand a lot of that, but also I feel like as members we should be able to have and expect a level of transparency. There are a couple classes that I’ve not taken yet because they were a little bit pricey and I wasn’t sure that I would actually be able to learn from that teacher.

I understand that there was some privacy concerns with showing if a teacher is accepting honorarium for class, but also… I would like to see where my money is actually going, and what I’m getting out of it.


I also don’t like eventbrite, I don’t like their charge that take out of our profit. Theirs is higher than most other event platforms.

I couldn’t agree more! When I came on board, I was told to get members to sign up, I should have pics of my classes so the students know what to expect. I actually need to update some of my pics when I clone some of the classes since I’ve improved my watercolor. Also, I always try to put in the description what the fee goes towards: pens I supply for calligraphy, workbooks I designed that the student can take home and get a pdf version, plus practice sheets for calligraphy (when I charge the student and not take honorarium).

Great feedback here!


I think that if people want to see more transparency from teachers in the meantime, they should just ask. Reach out to the teacher over talk or discord and just ask them. If you’re not sure how to contact them just post and someone will be likely to connect you to them.

For the classes I teach, it’s $20 per person plus materials rounded up for a two hour class with only 4 spaces. So if only one person shows up that’s $10 per hour for me…

I provide the materials, because some materials just won’t work with the machines or we’d have to test the settings on the machine multiple times to get it to work. I already test with my materials before every class so that we don’t have to waste time adjusting settings during class time.

I provide a class handout to each student describing the materials needed and where to find them, a full explanation of the process, and troubleshooting steps.

I do prep work before each class. That might mean material acquisition, updating class handouts, or ensuring the machine is working properly.

It takes a lot of time and effort to be a good teacher. Many people are interested in teaching but then realize that it takes way more than they expect so they never end up posting a class.

You are very welcome to start a new post asking people what they think of me as a teacher. If you want transparency, you need to take the initiative.


Very much agree. I’m sorry if it came across as if I was bitching about the teachers. I think the vast majority of our teachers are awesome, and have no issues with them. Usually if I’m curious or concerned about a teacher, I will chat around the space and ask - but sometimes that’s been misconstrued as other things.

Also, I’m not specifically saying about the quality of the teacher themselves: It’s more of how they teach, there are some people that I’m really really good friends with, but I could never learn from them just because of the way that I practice and learn things.

I’m not saying we should necessarily review teachers or rate them strictly on this, however, when classes are charging $40 a spot for something that seems basic/ on a very strict agenda, I would just like to know is that money going to the teacher, is it going to the space, is it a blend of the two, etc. If the class is charging cash, but using space materials/resources - Is the teacher responsible for putting some of that back to DMS or is DMS swallowing the cost for that class? I don’t particularly care which case it is because yeah- teaching is not easy and takes a lot of time and potentially money as prep work, but also as an education-based non-profit, I do think that we have some responsibility to make sure that classes and decisions are transparent and fair.


Completely agree!

Sorry I didn’t mean to respond to you specifically. I meant to respond to the thread in general. I missed that big blue button that says “Reply” and instead replied to a specific post.

I teach often at DMS. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it goes terribly. I only ever charge for materials and a little bit of overhead for consumables. Everything goes to DMS. There are some skills that are hard to learn. I don’t want to be judged on anything I teach personally. I don’t take $ for it anyways and sometimes classes are good or bad based on the students and their abilities (not judging). Learning new things can suck at first. A lot of people at DMS take classes to make something small and have fun. They don’t want to learn a skill, they want to be entertained.

I teach for primarily 2 reasons. Neither of them is based on making money for myself.

  1. I hope to drive interest in the specific things I am already interested in (community building).

  2. I want DMS to invest in tools that I want to use and otherwise can’t afford. If I can make DMS money to do this, I am more than happy to donate my time. This is how committees used to be funded.

All that said:

In my opinion:

Required classes aka (sign off classes) shouldn’t be expensive (~$10 at the most). should be offered monthly at the least and should pay more $ in honorarium (DMS needs these classes always). We also shouldn’t have to get them approved.

Other classes - no honorarium
-Make and take
-advanced skills
Instructors choice in materials and price (taxes/billing)

These two changes would get rid of needing to review classes and keep us with a steady stream of classes people need to use equipment.


Couple of things:

Last I heard, we’re at 8 classes/month for honorarium.

While currently there are very few teachers who are charging students for their time, we’re going to see that increase. I understand that Woodshop is going to let the Basics teachers charge $15/person rather than mess with honorarium. Those classes are always full, but don’t always “make”. This will help those folks actually get paid for their time.

The committees now have a budget, so they don’t need the counting of their 1/2 of the honorarium. We’re no longer judging committees on how many classes they have taught, they just get a budget.


Honestly, if privacy is a concern then making an email just for DMS teaching would make sense. Not everyone is on talk and a lot of teachers don’t post their talk handle anyway.

I feel the same about some of the pricier classes these days, especially ones that used to be the ole $5-$10. For $40-50 for an hour or two I want to know I’m getting quality prepped instruction. For $5 I’ll overlook the lack of prep and random tangents not related to the class topic :rofl:. And either way, that the materials are at cost similar what I could buy them for myself (wood, blanks, paper, cups, resin, etc etc).

This is sorta why I’m curious what committed policies are on ‘paying back’ for those teachers not taking honorarium. Like, do the teachers charging versus taking honorarium pay for the use of the machines? Wheels, lasers, lathes etc

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I used to teach lamp working back when glass wasn’t ever really a committee. The prep time was silly with hauling all the equipment to a classroom and setting it all up. Finding a cart that didn’t have a bunch of stuff on it was always a roll of the dice :rofl::rofl: Thankfully I had the students do the clean up to teach them where everything lived. Still, minimum 30 minute prep.

I swear half the prep when I taught was just finding all the bits and bobs that had inevitably wandered around