Griffin Antle '14 currently serves as a Teach For America Corps Member in Chicago. After graduating from Derryfield he attended The College of William & Mary and also competed for their Gymnastics program where he was named the USA Gymnastics Collegiate Senior Athlete of the Year in 2018. During the summer of 2017 Griffin returned to Derryfield to work as a Summer Teaching Fellow with Breakthrough Manchester.
You attended William & Mary after graduating from Derryfield in 2014. What did you you major in? Was there anything from your Derryfield experience that inspired your choice of study at W&M?
Although I was initially drawn to William & Mary by the prestigious gymnastics program, I attended the college because I fell in love with the school. Throughout my college search I compared schools to Derryfield, and I found many similar characteristics between my high school and college alma maters: a focus on liberal arts, small class sizes, and student testimonies to their excellent relationships with professors.
You also competed in gymnastics for William & Mary - how much of a challenge was it to compete in a varsity sport while at an academically-challenging school like W&M? Is there anything you learned along the way that helped you balance academics and athletics or that you continue to utilize after graduation?
I had the privilege of being a student athlete at William & Mary and became captain of the gymnastics team my senior year at school. Through gymnastics I learned to celebrate the process of teaching and learning. Being able to train with a group of highly talented and driven athletes allowed me to find my voice as a leader, collaborate with others, and work with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
What attracted you to becoming a Teaching Fellow at Breakthrough Manchester for Summer 2017? How much did that experience inform your decision to apply to become a Teach for America corps member after graduating college?
My summer with Breakthrough Manchester was a monumental moment in my development as an educator. The Breakthrough experience is comprehensive; in my first three months of being a full-time teacher, I have not been asked to complete any tasks that I did not complete at Breakthrough. That is an incredible statement to make about a six week summer program. I was tasked with developing and executing classroom lessons, delegating committee tasks for extracurricular opportunities, communicating goals and progress with students and families, along with more responsibilities of a teacher. Although the summer was at times overwhelming and often exhausting, I had an incredible support system in the administrators and other teaching fellows. I am deeply grateful for my experience at Breakthrough Manchester.
Compared to some other national service programs, Teach for America has a pretty strenuous application process - what was that like?
Interviewer's note: the Teach For America application process includes an online application, pre-interview short answer questions, and a live interview day that involves a teaching "audition," participating in a problem-solving activity, and a one-on-one interview.
The application process was intimidating, but I was well-prepared after my application for Breakthrough (they use a similar model).
With Teach for America, were you assigned to serve in Chicago or did you choose to go there? If you chose where to serve, what factored in to your choice of Chicago?
I was able to rank my preferred locations for TFA and I ranked Chicago as my top choice because I wanted to join the city’s fight for educational equity. As an educator, I bring a wealth of content knowledge to my classroom. As an individual from a white, privileged community teaching in an under-resourced community, I strive to humbly learn from my students and their families.
As a first year teacher, I fail a lot. Each day that I teach, some things go right, and a lot of things go wrong. Throughout my life, and now at Teach For America, I have been taught to learn continuously and always strive for excellence. Every night I forgive myself for my shortcomings, and every morning I recommit to this amazing work.
Photos are courtesy of Breakthrough Manchester and William & Mary Athletics.