Teacher Stories: Why Jack Zerby Makes (A Little) Time to Teach

There’s something extremely powerful about learning from great mentors. Jack Zerby met his greatest mentors only once he was out of school, in the working world, and that experience helped define his career. Teaching on Skillshare has allowed him to follow his dream of giving back by becoming a mentor himself.

Jack, founder of Flavors.me and Goodsie, former Director of Design at Vimeo, and father of three, attributes the time he spent at a design bootcamp as the major turning point in his career. “To be around people who really understand the craft of design—to work with some of the smartest people I’ve ever met, like Paula Scher and Lisa Strausfeld, made me realize just how much I still had to learn,” Jack explains. Although he had studied design in school, working on projects with real-world professionals was the experience he needed to grow into a great designer. So when he first learned about Skillshare, Jack was eager to get involved and inspire the next generation of creative entrepreneurs.

With an incredibly busy professional life and a growing family, time management was an initial concern for Jack when deciding whether to teach on Skillshare. Once he realized the online platform made it possible for him to work on his own schedule, he found that he could reach out and create a community around his own skills, becoming a mentor in the spirit of his own teachers.

As Jack tells us, “My first class didn’t take me months to put together. It was an hour here, an hour there, and it turned out great! The feedback was awesome. The community was even more awesome. And then one day I noticed I had 5,000 followers. I was like ‘what’!”

Since Jack created his first class, teaching on Skillshare has proven to be even more enriching, both personally and professionally, than he’d imagined. He’s perfected his time management process—”outlining is key,” he tells us—and now has four classes published. He has a continuously growing, engaged following within the Skillshare community. “For me, the audience and the quality of people that I’ve encountered on Skillshare—what they’re doing, what projects they’ve worked on, what companies they’ve started—those connections have been invaluable. More valuable than money,” Jack reflects. Several of Jack’s students have reached out to him personally to thank him and share stories their professional success as a direct result of his classes.

Jack published his latest class, Mastering Microcopy: Writing Tiny Words for Huge UX Impact, last month, and he already has more in the works. Follow him to stay up-to-date with his upcoming curriculum, and check out these tips and learnings from his experience to teach a class of your own!

  1. Plan ahead. Crafting a coherent outline ahead of time makes the process much smoother and time-efficient when it comes time to film. This outline template is a great place to start.
  2. Keep the class short and concise to keep students engaged. As Jack put it, “It’s not always easy, but it’s important. Just ask my wife - I can blab forever!” Check out this article from our Teacher Handbook for more advice on presenting your class in an engaging way.
  3. Keep in touch with your students. Staying engaged with your followers is a great way to boost project creation, give your students the best possible experience, and grow your following. This section of our Teacher Handbook shares several resources to help you do just that!