Rarejob: A leader in providing Japanese people speaking opportunities in English

Friday, January 2, 2009

As a way of thanking my bosses, I am featuring the online English tutoring company RareJob, where I belong since January of 2008, here in my blog.

After the world war II, Japan was in shambles. It drove the survivors to make big families and the family men to work harder than oxes. In time, the cooperative efforts paid off and slowly Japan rose to the ranks and even exceeded expectations as it took hold of the second most powerful economic position in the world. It has also preserved most of its culture and traditions until this day.

There's a change however, that Japanese people needed to make; a decision that many Japanese people had to do. They must learn English - 'cause that's the only way they can remain competitive in the global market and retain their dominance especially in the field of electronic innovations and car industry. They also need to connect to the civilizations other than their own and reach out to other nationalities by speaking the language that is understood by all nations.

The Japanese government did recognize that English is the international language so it is being taught in Junior High School, High School and in the university. However, this is not enough since after graduation from school, the Japanese people barely have practical experiences to use the language in a real-life setting especially with foreigners unless they have the opportunity to travel, visit or live abroad. This makes retention and learning English harder for Japanese than other people from other countries who are also learning English as a second language. Everybody in Japan speaks the native tongue and there are not many foreign tourists. Even if they've learned English in school, they are doomed to forget what they've learned until they get to speak and use the language to communicate to other people on a regular basis.

Tomahisa Kato, the CEO of the company, saw this need and brought it into realization. He was very hesitant to put it up in the beginning 'cause as we all know, starting a business is hard, difficult and unpredictable. He was earning a good pay as a management consultant and it was hard to trade that off with something he wasn't sure would click. He, together with Gaku Nakamura, the Chief Technical Officer - started out an online company by offering English lessons to Japanese people - especially to businessmen who have to take TOEIC test or conferences and business trips abroad. The company moreover, caters students from all ages - as long as they can speak and understand basic English (since most of the teachers can't speak Nihonggo). As a company strategy, they only employ University of the Philippines students and alumni, the premiere state university of the Philippines where they can be sure of the intellectual capacity and speaking ability of the teachers. As the company expands - the management deems the need to hire people from other universities but is securing measures to evaluate applicants.

As a quality assurance measure, the company trains the tutors before they start working. The students also get to evaluate their tutors' performances. These are very important for both parties - for the teacher to improve and for the student to have the kind of lesson that he/she deserves.

"How does the online school operate?", you may ask since the company is based in Tokyo, Japan and the teachers are in the Philippines or all over the world. The lessons are conducted through Skype, a video-messaging application so both parties only need to have PCs and stable Internet connection. The students reserve lesson slots with the tutors they prefer. One lesson slot is 25 minutes and the students can choose to have one, two, three, four lesson slots per day according to their agreement with the management. The available lesson hours are only from 8 PM-12 midnight (Philippine time) or 9 PM-1 AM (Japan time) on weekdays and additional lesson schedule from 8AM-12 noon on weekends. The tutors are paid through bank transfers made by the Filipino staffs in Diliman, Quezon City and Los BaƱos, Laguna.

The current statistics of the company is 400+ tutors and 5000+ students strong. The company started in November 2007 and is growing rapidly. It is the number one online English school in Japan and was even featured in Japanese television. I am happy to be part of this company as it surely developed my teaching, social, interpersonal and communication skills as well as my professionalism. Teaching English is actually learning English also - because there are just to many vocabularies to learn, idioms to get familiar with, grammar rules to master, stories and news articles to read and topics to discuss. It's also great to meet different kinds of people with varied fields of interests from all ages. It's fun and I am loving it.

Thank you to my RareJob family. I don't know how long I will stay but this experience is something that I will always be grateful for and will never forget.

--- Not a sponsored post ----

P.S. If you're from UP and you wish to apply, contact me at my email (check my profile) and check this RareJob teachers' home page. Don't forget to mention me as your referrer. HAHA.

10 comment(s):

Brian Barker said...

I live in London and if anyone says to me “everyone speaks English” my answer is “Listen and look around you”. If people in London do not speak English then the whole question of a global language is completely open.

The promulgation of English as the world’s “lingua franca” is unethical and linguistically undemocratic. I say this as a native English speaker!

Unethical because communication should be for all and not only for an educational or political elite. That is how English is used internationally at the moment.

Undemocratic because minority languages are under attack worldwide due to the encroachment of majority ethnic languages. Even Mandarin Chinese is attempting to dominate as well. The long-term solution must be found and a non-national language, which places all ethnic languages on an equal footing is long overdue.

An interesting video can be seen at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a former translator with the United Nations

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net

Laane said...

Happy new year!!!

I'm one of your entrecarddroppers and I'm sending you my best wishes.

May many dreams come true.

Pastilan said...

@Brian Barker

I got your point about how unethical and linguistically undemocratic it is to promulgate English as the world's lingua franca but after I watched the Youtube video of Mr. Piron trying to sell us esperanto, your point crumbled. It seems that Mr. Piron is seeing the world through the eyes of a european who forgot that there is Asia and South America. Yes, the goal of esperanto is good but it is not for Asians like me. Though esperanto is not related to any ethnic language, its grammar, vocabulary, phonology, and semantics are based on western Indo-European languages. Asians like me would still find it difficult to learn it because its structure is very different from our language. The most ethical thing to do is just let English take its course; if it survives the test of time then let it be; if it dies along the way, then so be it. Just don't let us learn another language. I have nothing against esperanto but trying to make it the world's lingua franca is like starting from scratch.

Another thing though, was there a conscious effort to promulgate the English language as the lingua franca of the world? I guess there was not, it just happened and it was just the way the human race has written history. On the other hand, the conscious effort to spread esperanto is not natural.

AlRitch said...

Interesting. Bakit UP lang? Hehehehehe...

AlRitch said...

Aw, nakita na nko..UP rajud diay..ehehehhee

kikamz said...

dili diay pwede mg apply ang non-UP grads? ngano??? :D

pchi said...

@Brian Baker

I understand your point. But I agree with Pastilan.

English spread without much effort. Mandarin might take over because they are more Chinese speakers than English speakers collectively.

Everybody has become accustomed to English and it would be hard for everybody to put conscious effort to learn another language again.

I really don't think English is just a language for the native speakers. A language is used and not owned

pchi said...

@Laane

thank you for your consistent drops!

@Pastilan

agree!

@Alritch

yeah, decision sa management

@Kikamz

hirapan daw kasi sila mag-evaluate. ewan din

Anonymous said...

The only thing I can't understand about the management of Rarejobs is that they accept ONLY UP students and graduates. Why is that?! University discrimination?! UP daw kasi ang kilala ng mga Japanese. Well, I think it's high time that they should promote that there are lots of Filipinos who can speak and teach English. Nahihirapan sila sa evaluation? Aw, c'mmon!If their job is to evalaute, then they are paid for doing that job. I have nothing against UP people. In fact, I had/have acquaintances, friends and relatives from that university and they are really intelligent. What I'm trying to say is it is not the school but the people themselves. Same with race and religion. IT'S THE PEOPLE!

I have been teaching English to non-English speaker nationals for quite sometime and made friends with them kahit wala na sila sa Pilipinas. They didn't care from what school I studied. There are many good tutors from other universities like Ateneo, La Salle,FEU, Letran, Perpetual, PUP,PLM, UE, STI and AMA na kakilala ko. Maraming skilled and smart Filipinos. Rarejob management should go out and explore. There are so many students in the Philippines and a lot of them were not able to study in UP because of many possible reasons. Is this discrimination or just being narrow-minded? Does Rarejobs know that UP is an advocate of democracy and equality?

Anonymous said...

I heard from all of my friends from Rarejob Tutors - that the company treated unequal to other tutors. Rarejob office personnel and staff got more incentives and bonuses than those tutors from other places that worked hard everyday. Hope that the Rarejob JAPAN office will make an action regarding the benefits and salary of TUTORS especially the Tutors from other places.
Thank you!

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