UPDATE 2/29: Butterfly has currently paused hiring new teachers and launching subscription channels. 

UPDATE 5/1: We have not received any communication from Butterfly since March 13th.

Subscribe for any updates to this status!

Although only about two months have passed since I started making educational videos for the new company Butterfly Educators, a lot has changed in a short time!

If you haven’t, click here for my first post in January for general information about the company and my initial experiences.

If you’re interested in future information about online and in-person tutoring as well as other non-traditional educational opportunities, subscribe here!

Copy of Copy of Copy of Untitled Design

Equipment/Tools I use

Note: Links below are affiliate links. I personally use these products and there’s no extra cost to you, but I may receive a small bonus if you click through and purchase. Feel free to also look elsewhere as well! 🙂

Field Trip Videos:

  • Apple iPhone 6 – or –
  • Sony A6000 camera

Curriculum Videos:

  • 2013 Macbook
  • Logitech Headset (about $20 on Amazon)

Umbrella Light – Neewer 200W 5500K Continuous Lighting Umbrella Kit (currently on sale!)

Umbrella Light


February Changes

Here are just a few of the biggest changes in the past month or so:

  • All videos require subtitles now
  • Teachers are limited to how many videos they can do in a week (currently, it’s up to 5 during the initial sign-up period each Friday and up to 10 if there leftover spots after Saturday)
  • Rather than being pass/fail, videos are now assessed via a detailed rubric with categories in:
    • Classroom environment
    • Teaching lesson
    • Sound Quality
    • Video Quality
    • Video Editing and Submission

Each above category has subcategories (about 25 in total) and are assessed with a 3, 2, or 1.

Whereas initially there was more flexibility with the video quality, the new standard is high-quality:

“Items that may have been rated a 2 prior, may now be rated as a 1 as they are necessary for improvement to ensure quality content that aligns as closely as possible to other videos being showcased.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, the increase in quality standards is completely understandable. I watch YouTube videos often, and the difference between a creator’s setup that’s well-lit, with clear sound, etc. versus one that’s lacking those areas makes a huge difference in the viewer experience.

However, it also means more work and potential costs in making sure our videos are accepted – which my last few have not been accepted (more on that in a minute).

My Experience This Month

Now that Butterfly has a solid base of videos, they started a sign-up sheet to be released every Friday with certain topics and limited slots (generally 5-10 slots) based on need.

I signed up for 5 videos for the week of Feb 7-13, and had filmed 4, but was running into issues with editing that hadn’t been an issue before.

I had been using Kapwing’s editing and auto subtitle features, however, their platform has become incredibly glitchy.

Currently, I’ve started using iMovie instead, but many other teachers still use Kapwing successfully!

However, now that Kapwing isn’t working for me, it’s taking longer than before to complete videos. I completed one and submitted it to make sure it would pass before editing the rest. 

Video Submissions/Feedback

Back in December and January, all 15-20 of my videos were accepted the first time. 

For one of my intermediate videos at the end of January, some informal feedback was given that I should speak faster.

After recording 4 videos last week and editing/submitting one to see if it would be accepted, it got rejected both times.

Here is the positive and negative feedback:

Accepted Video – Field Trip

(note: this video was accepted at the end of January, so their standards may have increased in that time)

Screen Shot 2020-02-21 at 2.31.36 PM

Rejected Videos – Curriculum

Grains Video (1st time submitting)

Screen Shot 2020-02-21 at 2.11.45 PM

The feedback we get only states the numbers 3, 2, or 1.

I received:

3’s: professional appearance categories, teaching appearance categories, teaching the lesson categories, sound and video quality categories, and visible and accurate subtitles.

2’s: classroom background, lighting (due to shadows at times when I brought items too close to the camera), my position on camera/eye contact, and being engaging (4 total).

1: No windows/doors present (1 total).

Since only ‘1’ rating in any category is enough for an overall denial, the door frame you can see on the right side was enough to cause it to be denied.

Grains Video (2nd time submitting)

Screen Shot 2020-02-21 at 2.12.32 PM

I tried to crop the video so that the door frame wouldn’t show. In doing so, however, black bars were created on each side when the video went to full screen, so it got a ‘1’ for that.

As such, the other 3 videos I recorded in the same position would also be rejected if I tried to submit them, which was a little frustrating (but again, still understandable).

Surprisingly, the score for lighting changed from a ‘2’ the first time to a ‘1’ the second time, despite being the exact same lighting. My guess is that it’s from this shadow:

After emailing Butterfly to ask about this discrepancy, here was their response:

“It looks like upon second review, a different processor reviewed your video. With the new guidelines in place, brightly, and evenly, lit classrooms are necessary as students are viewing videos in HD widescreen. You may be able to fix this issue by running the video through editing software and applying a lighter filter to it. Be careful with this as some may washout the color, which would only create another issue.

Going forward, please be sure to move your recording device further away, so that all gestures may be easily seen and you do not appear as a ‘floating head’ versus a teacher with enough classroom able to be viewed for the student to feel as if they are in the classroom with you.”

(Update 2/26) – Accepted Video – Curriculum

Screen Shot 2020-02-26 at 1.49.32 PM

I received:

3’s: professional appearance categories, teaching appearance categories, teaching the lesson categories, sound and video quality categories, and visible and accurate subtitles.

2’s: classroom background, lighting, and being engaging (3 total).

No 1’s this time!

I will be updating this post with more relevant feedback/improvements after I get feedback from this week! Subscribe for updates about Butterfly.


On video accepting/rejecting:

Since my classroom setup is in a closet, there are some space limitations that have required some adjusting. My initial setup was fine for VIPKid, but I completely understand that a company would want high-quality educational videos to appropriately market their products.

Other teachers have mentioned their videos being rejected more often nowadays than previously as well. It can and is frustrating!

Overall, however, I think the expectations are still fair and very similar to most online ESL companies in terms of teaching methods. The classroom environment expectations are higher than those of most online ESL companies.

The good news: Butterfly has told us that our subscription channels will be up and running soon!

If that starts to take off, then it would make a lot more sense to spend the extra time editing, adding an intro, etc. For now, though, I’m just doing a few videos until I see whether the time invested in making my videos great pays off or not.

I still love recording the videos themselves as the topics we’ve been given are interesting and allow for a lot of teacher creativity.

I like that they don’t tell us exactly how to teach, but more so guide us via their curriculum and online ESL best practices (TPR, props, engaging teaching, etc.). 

Do I still recommend Butterfly?

Yes, if you already have or are willing to learn about video editing and put the time and effort into creating an excellent classroom setting.

As I don’t have any video editing experience, I have run into a number of roadblocks along the way! It has definitely required persistence to keep going and gradually get better.

However, the fact that it’s completely flexible as to whether or not we make videos and when we spend our time working on it, I’m still enthusiastic to see what’s to come!

And of course, the prospect of passive income is still a big motivator. Despite not much payoff right now relative to the amount of time and effort, that potential should be on the horizon! (fingers crossed)

  • Subscribe here for future tutorials, online teaching tips, and posts related to other nontraditional educational jobs and opportunities!
  • Want to know more about teaching ESL online with VIPKid, GoGokid, or other companies? Email me at introvertedonlineteacher@gmail.com for FREE resources and 1:1 mentoring.
  • Interested in mindful and valuable social media use for educators? Check out my 1st , 2nd, and 3rd posts in a 4-part series!

Interested in Applying to Butterfly?

Butterfly states that any classroom or online teachers with “neutral North American accents” can apply.

1st Step: Read and complete the Application form (below).

2nd Step: Complete the video release form using the form link that appears once your application has successfully been submitted.

If you’re interested, you can apply here – please include IVANA CUSICK as your referrer and I will receive a small bonus! 🙂



The Introverted Online Teacher

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