Friday, December 15, 2017

Know Your Profs: Camosun Pipe Trades instructor and chair John Gordon sees trades fighting entitlement

July 23, 2015 by Greg Pratt, managing editor

Know Your Profs is an ongoing series of profiles on the instructors at Camosun College. Every issue we ask a different instructor at Camosun the same 10 questions in an attempt 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 and we’ll add your instructor to our list of teachers to talk to.

This issue we talked to Camosun Pipe Trades instructor and chair John Gordon about seeing students mature, the entitlement generation, and patience.

Camosun’s John Gordon doesn’t like seeing unprepared students (photo provided).

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

I instruct in the Pipe Trades, which includes Plumbing, Steam/Pipefitting, Gasfitting, Sprinklerfitting, and Refrigeration; my specialty is Plumbing and Gasfitting. I started in May 2005 and took over the chair position in 2012.

2: What do you personally get out of teaching?

I now enjoy seeing the younger students mature. There seems to be a generation of students who believe they are entitled to an education, but trades training forces students to take ownership of their careers, which results in a noticeable, positive, change in attitude.

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

How much extra work instructors do every day to make sure students get the best possible experience while here at Camosun. Many students enter training without any understanding of what to expect and have nothing to compare the experience with, since it is so different from the secondary-school experience. Many instructors try to accommodate the students by helping out as mentors, counsellors, advisors, and even pseudo-parents to support the students’ success.

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

That math is not my strongest subject.

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

I feel fortunate that I helped a young man go from being the worst first-year student I have had to becoming the best fourth-year student in his graduating year. I’ve learned to be a very patient person when dealing with apprentices.

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

There are some students who we just can’t seem to adjust to trades training. With this “entitlement” generation some will go as far as to get their lawyer involved. When lawyers are involved nobody is happy.

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

The Pipe Trades department at Camosun is spearheading the blended delivery of trades training in BC, perhaps even in Canada. We are moving forward with online curriculum for many of our programs. Although this is not new to the academic world, trades have been slow on adopting this method of training, but it is the way of the future.

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

My wife, dog, and I love to hike. I am also an avid mountain biker and travel the island “shredding.” I may also be a golf addict.

9: What’s your favourite meal?

Anything on Friday night with a nice glass of red wine.

10: What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Underprepared students. Trades training is fast-paced, and when students come to class underprepared the entire cohort suffers.

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