How did you end up teaching at EBS?
I joined EBS in 1999. autumn. During the 90s it was usual that when companies were searching for new employees then they were usually found through acquaintances. I was recruited to the EBS Language Center thanks to Silvia Lepalaan, who is on vacation already. Later I moved on to the Department of Marketing and Communication where I am still working.
Please give us a brief overview of your career.
My career isn’t very diverse. Just another day me and a colleague of mine, with whom I started working here at the same time, were discussing that “together we came here and probably together we leave here once that day should arrive”. To be exact, I’ve always and only worked at EBS. During my studies in University of Tallinn I used to work consequently at Tallinn Airport’s tax-free store, but I think that “doesn’t count”. But at EBS my career flowed very academically – at first I was a lecturer, then docent, then professor and now (for some time) associate professor.
Tell us something interesting about yourself that your students might not know.
Hmmm… well I really love to fool around and break small unwritten rules, during which no one gets hurt. For instance, me and my friend have done yoga-practice on nocturnal Tallinn streets. And as another example when someone asks me who I work as, then sometimes I answer that I work as a teacher, a P.E. teacher. I have always enjoyed fooling around like that.
What is your greatest dream?
Oh! Well that is the kind of question where the nice expected answer would be “to sail around the world” but I don’t have that kind of an answer. My dream is much more of a boring one – I’d love to live with a calm heart, happily with one person until the end of my days. Such a dream. Someone once said ”phäh! What kind of a dream is that supposed to be?!”, but another said “Wow, you have an amazing dream! That is definitely a real dream, because it’s really difficult to achieve it!”
If you could leave all your duties aside, what would be the first thing you would do?
Well, we never exactly know what we would do when that kind of a time would come (maybe we would search for a new job?), but then I think I would love to volunteer at Arvo Pärt’s Centre more in depth (right now I volunteer there very episodically) and be useful while spending my time there. In addition, I would attend more concerts and read more books and most likely travel more. But only in Europe, because this is where I have always felt very good while travelling. I feel a bit weird about thinking of traveling on your free time from your own budget to places, where we don’t feel comfortable or good. Some call it non-adventurous. Interesting, is it good or bad? Well, I don’t care…
What have been the greatest learning points and lessons during your career?
Do less, but do it as best as you can. For instance, some positions in universities have publication obligations. I have always liked to publicize less, but things that l would not feel embarrassed about. At the very beginning of my career I published one article about which I felt very embarrassed afterwards, but fortunately that article doesn’t exist anymore. Related to teaching, it is always important to keep in mind that giving in (to students) can come with bad consequences. I’d really-really want to comply and say “ok-ok, you can submit your work a week later!”, but then you have to toughen up and say “No!”.
If a student would like to try out working in your area of specialty, what would be your suggestion on where and how to start?
For starters, I think it would be wise to talk with one of the lecturers, and agree on if the student could have a chance to conduct a few lectures and if she or he likes it (and the students listening also like it), then they could conduct a whole course. And if she or he still actually likes doing it then the aftermath is easy, bachelor’s, master’s, doctor’s degree, a loads of pedagogics, your own research, then teach and publish and teach and publish and then once more teach and publish and there you go! Easy-peasy!
How would you describe yourself as a person and as a lecturer?
I believe that I’m a cheerful colleague and lecturer. During lectures I’m also highly active and interactive. Often, I compose my lectures in a specific style: “I ask, students answer” and that’s how they learn (hopefully). I extremely love it when people doubt something that has been written or said (even when I say it) and students start to discuss the things from a new perspective. During my lectures, I always demand of my students to “analyze, analyze, don’t describe, because we can all see the description! Don’t just say that the doors of EBS main entrance are made of oak, we can all see that. Better- talk about what it could mean and refer to!”. At first students really don’t understand, but after a few weeks everyone feels more comfortable when analyzing.
You used to be a student at EBS, what did you enjoy the most about studying at EBS?
Oh, the first thing that comes to my mind is, that it was EXTREMELY difficult. I mean, it was a lot of fun too, many interesting course mates, etc., but you had to study and do something ALL THE TIME. For example, we had to write one essay every week to Hardo Pajula. Do you know how tough it is to write him a (good) essay? And during those times when I was a Master’s student, the studies took place on Fridays and Saturdays and as a result, I didn’t see my family for one and a half years… It was very intense.