Disclaimer: The author is an online RareJob tutor since 2011.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, a debilitating disorder. Mobility became limited because of swollen joints and skin rashes that reacted to sunlight. My doctor advised me to stay at home so I may heal and recover. While this set-up was ideal, I needed a source of income to support my family’s needs and mine. It was during this time I discovered the advantages of online teaching.

1. The initial requirements are laptop, Internet connection, and interest to teach English.

In 2010, a mother of a former RareJob employee encouraged me to try teaching online. I was skeptical for a lot of reasons. Aside from the fact that I’ve never done it before, I wasn’t sure of many things: How will I get paid? Will I be compensated properly? Is this company legit? (Honestly, I thought RareJob was a job portal, not an online ESL school.) But since I trust the person who recommended it, I gave it a shot despite my apprehension.

First up is to make sure I was qualified. The basic requirements were a computer, Internet connection, and, of course, interest to teach English.

2. The application process is online.

In December 2010, I registered on the RareJob website. The application process was exclusively done online which was really convenient considering my limitations at that time. I took the English exam, uploaded all the requirements, and by January 2011, I conducted my first lesson.

3. Most of the Japanese students are kind.

I was really nervous during my first lesson. I prepared all the materials and added my student 30 minutes before the lesson. I was ready to make the call while refreshing the tutor site every now and then to check for any changes in the schedule. I even reviewed the script which included a spiel to assure the student in the event he or she was nervous. I, however, was the one who needed reassuring. When I finally made the call and heard the student greet me, I blurted out what I was feeling and said, “Hi! This is Ina. I am your tutor for this lesson. Are you nervous?” The student answered, “Yes,” and, I said, “Same here!” We both burst into laughter. Through the rest of the lesson, all of my fears and inhibitions diminished.

4. The fee is deposited to my registered bank account and details are verifiable online.

5. There is no required number of lesson slots.

What a relief when I found out that RareJob does not require its tutors to have a minimum number of lesson slots every month. Tutors are allowed to plot their own schedule based on their availability.

Because of this, I had a choice to have different schedules every week depending on my activities and health condition. I can also open lesson slots in advance or even on the day itself.

6. I had more time with my family.

Because I was working at home, I need not brave the streets and spend two or three hours a day in traffic. The time I should have spent on commute was reallocated for my family, and my hobbies and interests. Compared with my office-based counterparts, I certainly have more time in my hands.

I couldn’t imagine what I have done if I got sick back when online teaching was still unfamiliar territory. It would have damaged my self-worth, or worse.

Despite having suffered from lupus, I am grateful for it because it paved the way for me to be an online tutor. I strongly believe that RareJob can help other talented but marginalized people. As I think about it, the name RareJob makes sense. True to its vision of providing “chances for everyone, everywhere”, the company does offer a rare job.