Education Department Contract Instructor

Organization: Staten Island Zoo (AZA Member)
Location: Staten Island, New York, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Motivated individual to teach education programs at the Staten Island Zoo. The programs are suited for children age pre-k through adult. The instructor will be presenting animals while teaching lessons in a classroom setting. The zoo does NOT provide housing or transportation to the zoo.


• Experience with ability to learn handling a variety of live animals including; non-venomous snakes, invertebrates, birds of prey and small mammals.

• Must possess appropriate knowledge and skills to teach and manage school children in a class setting.

• Must present evidence of ability to plan and conduct lessons in environmental education, including basic ecology, zoology and conservation.

• Must have or be pursuing a degree in education, zoology, animal science, conservation studies or a related science OR equivalent experience.

• Must have a valid Driver’s License and be willing to travel in a zoo vehicle (Honda Element) to conduct classes at schools.

What is a Contract Instructor?

Contract Instructors are workers who usually are not working full-time, during the day and want to enjoy flexible, part-time work. Ideal candidates in the past have been college undergraduate and graduate students, retirees, and part-time workers in other fields.

Contract workers are assigned classes as schools book programs at the zoo. If we do not have classes scheduled, work will not be available.

Instructors are required to go through a training period where they will learn how to handle our education animals and become proficient with our lesson plans. There will be no compensation while training for classes. The length of training is individualized as everyone progresses at different rates. The instructor is responsible for buying their own uniform (zoo instructor shirt $20 and khaki pants (purchased on your own). You will be given a zoo name tag.

How Contract Instructors work:

Classes can be booked for 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 and 1:00 (or later if it is a scout group), most likely during the week. Some weekend work is occasionally available. The instructor is responsible for set up and clean up of the room they are assigned. Contract instructors can also be assigned a “Traveling Zoo” (approximately 8-3) which will allow them to go into a public school and present at least three programs.

Pay rate for classes are as follows:

In Zoo Classes: 1st class: $20; each subsequent class: $15; (example, if you work 3 classes in a day, you will be paid $50); Traveling Zoo (off grounds): $75 for the day.

It is the responsibility of the instructor to report their income when they file taxes, as taxes will not be taken out of pay.

Application Requirements

Email cover letter and resume to Ella Viola, Director of Education, at