Saturday, February 24, 2018

Know Your Profs: Camosun Carpentry instructor Geoff Murray says the trade is here to stay

January 21, 2015 by Jason Schreurs, assistant editor

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profile articles about the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor at Camosun the same 10 questions to get to know them a little better.

Do you have an instructor that you want to see interviewed in the paper? Maybe you want to know more about one of your teachers, but you’re too busy, or shy, to ask? Email us ( )and we’ll be happy to add your instructor to our list of teachers to talk to.

This issue we’ve got Carpentry instructor Geoff Murray, who talked to us about geeking out on Carpentry, how the trade will be around forever (and never outsourced), and why you should always, always wear your safety goggles.

1: What do you teach and how long have you been a teacher at Camosun?

I teach Carpentry Apprenticeship, Foundation Carpentry, ACE-IT, and Women in Trades. I have been an instructor at Camosun for 10 years.

2: What do you personally get out of teaching?

Teaching for me is the whole package… the Camosun community, my colleagues in the Carpentry department, the students, the wood, the course content. I get to geek out about carpentry all day. I have the best job in the world.


Camosun’s Geoff Murray really wants you to wear your safety glasses (photo by Jill Westby/Nexus).


3: What’s one thing you wish your students knew about you?

I am passionate about their learning, forthright with my instruction, and jealous that they have this amazing body of learning in front of them. I talk loud because I am wearing hearing protectors.

4: What’s one thing you wish they didn’t know about you?

This is the hardest question. I am pretty open about myself; not much to hide.

5: What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you as a teacher here?

The best thing happens regularly. I witness the growth of a young person from when they arrive in Level 1, Foundation, or ACE-IT, a little bit immature and slightly overwhelmed, and watch as they continue through their apprenticeship, growing up, gaining skill and confidence, and finishing up with a Red Seal and a solid career path.

6: What’s the worst thing that has happened to you as a teacher here?

I have had a couple of students that didn’t like to learn what I had to teach. It was a mismatch of expectations and personalities. The students ended up withdrawing from the program. I take it as failure on my part to “lose” them.

7: What do you see in the future of postsecondary education?

I can speak about the Carpentry Apprenticeship Program and say that there’s no such thing as a digital deck or an “i” fence, or window, or door. We cannot export carpentry skills to an offshore call centre. I think we will maintain a strong trades training system. Most of the students I work with are kin-aesthetic learners; people who learn by doing. We need to be in a shop with tools, and wood, and nails. The apprenticeship system of education is tried and true, and I see it continuing as long as we need buildings to live, and work, and learn, and play in.

8: What do you do to relax on the weekends?

A little bit of reading in bed with a cup of coffee, puttering in the garden, and making music with friends.

9: What is your favourite meal?

It’s pretty hard to beat breakfast, whether it’s hot porridge, bacon and eggs, or waffles with real maple syrup. But a spicy pizza, fresh out of a wood-fired oven, is probably my favorite meal.

10: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Having to remind adults to wear their safety glasses. Vision is precious. Put them on your face and leave them there.

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