Quickfire Q+A: John Hodges

Meet: John Hodges, teacher at NFSB Continuing Education


1. What do you do at NFSB Continuing Education?

I am a teacher in the Construction Carpentry program at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC).

2. What’s the best question you ever got from a student?

Something along the lines of: “Could you show me that so I can do it?”

3. Is it true there are no silly questions?

Unfortunately, that old adage is not true; there are all sorts of silly questions.

On the other hand, for a teacher, questions on topic, on task or that help a student’s understanding are always welcome, even if means I have to repeat myself.

4. What’s your favorite carpentry tool?

There are lots of great tools out there, both innovative and tried and true. If I had to choose, my favourite would be a toss up between the “speed square” and a good utility knife. On the other hand, the best tool is the one you can use that is best suited for the job at hand or as one of my colleagues is fond of saying, the best tool is your brain!

5. Most common safety precaution people overlook when doing carpentry projects that could save them from getting hurt?

Most job site injuries result from falling. Not the dramatic falls from a roof or a tall ladder, but from tripping or losing one’s balance while on the ground. Typically, this occurs because the site is not kept clean and organized and there is random debris laying around creating a tripping hazard.

6. What book are you reading right now?

Right now I am reading “Cooked – a natural history of transformation” by Michael Pollan, but I recently finished the “Orenda” by Joseph Boyden – amazing!

7. Favorite musical band:

I know this makes me look really old and gray, but if I had to choose one band, it would be The Beatles. If I had to choose a single musician, Tracy Chapman.

8. We heard you inspired NFSB to get involved in the building of the Habitat for Humanity LEED certified house, tell us about that:

About 8 years ago, I got involved with Habitat – I loved it; partly because I enjoyed the idea of donating my time and expertise to a needy family, partly because as soon as they found out I was a carpenter, I was put in the position of a “team leader”. When I became a teacher at CVCEC, I thought the link with Habitat would be a great way of giving our students an opportunity to have some hands-on experience. The LEED/Habitat project, with its advanced design, energy efficiency and modular construction coupled with wide social acceptance will be the perfect blend of teaching/doing at school and will allow for partnerships toward the creation of a “community” project all can be proud of.

9. You just finished your 4th Trade it Forward social change project, are you single-handedly trying to change the world?

If the TIF project is to get off the ground, it will require some of us to “get out there” and demonstrate that we are ALL constantly doing good and kind things for those around us; sometimes of a financial nature, sometimes of a donation of time or of goods. At the risk of appearing “self-absorbed”, I am just trying to “model” that for people (students and others) who may feel shy or embarrassed to publicize their good deeds.

10. Best advice for young people thinking about enrolling in carpentry?

If you decide to be a student of carpentry, you will need to consider it as a vocation. The ideal student is actively engaged in his or her own learning and commits themselves to the “job” of being a student.



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