Career story – Principal Lecturer in Energy and Environmental Technology

Joel songok2

Joel Songok

“I want to especially thank all my colleagues for being helpful, welcoming, and supportive since onboarding.”

Principal Lecturer Joel Songok has a background in chemical engineering and previously he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Vaasa. Songok chose to work at VAMK to make a change in his career towards a more balanced role of combining research and teaching. He wanted to teach and mentor students, and to contribute to the development of youths.

Joel Songok started working at VAMK in the fall 2023 as a Principal Lecturer in Energy Technology. Since the beginning he has appreciated the collaborative working environment. There have of course been some things that require adapting such as different technical platforms and the different perspectives required for research and teaching preparation. Also, time management for various meetings and building courses require some adjusting.

“I want to especially thank all my colleagues for being helpful, welcoming, and supportive since onboarding.”

Young students need more guidance

Songok finds teaching interesting and rewarding. He sees how it is different to teach students from different years.

“The first-year students need more guidance. You have to introduce many new concepts to them. The final-year students require different approach as they prepare to enter the job market”, Songok explains.

The best part of working at VAMK, according to him, is the ability to create personalised lectures and to tailor assignments to deliver a genuine learning experience, not just to pass the exams.

“I also get to gain ideas and perspectives from the students, which does not happen while doing a research paper alone”, Songok laughs.

Teaching requires continuous learning

Reflecting on the positive experience compared to his previous career, Songok emphasises the benefits of teaching.

“If you cannot learn while you teach, then you are not teaching”, Songok ponders.

To those considering a career as a teacher, he advises having a genuine passion for the subject, understanding the diversity of students, and finding enjoyment in the teaching process.

The story was published in May 2024.