About Christopher Antilope
Christopher Antilope is a secondary school English & Religion Teacher with the Halton Catholic District School Board. In his vocation of teaching, he infuses his devotion to faith, passion for education, and affinity for pop-culture into the realm of “edutainment”, that of education and entertainment, making his classes both memorable and meaningful for all that enter his classroom.
Antilope is a two-time graduate of the University of Toronto, having earned his Master of Teaching from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and his Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction, where he studied English and Religion.
Connect with Christopher: Email | Linkedin
Listen to the episode now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favourite podcast platform.
How to do a Social Media Detox
Halton Catholic District School Board
Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto
Masters of Teaching at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare
**Please note that all of our transcriptions come from rev.com and are 80% accurate. We’re grateful for the robots that make this possible and realize that it’s not a perfect process.
Sam Dema (00:00):
Welcome back to another episode of the High Performing Educator podcast. This is your host and youth speaker, Sam Demma. Today’s guest on this show is Christopher Antilope or Antilope. I’m mispronouncing one of those too, but we’re close. We’re close. Chris is a secondary school teacher and religion teacher with the Halton Catholic District School Board. In his vocation of teaching, he infuses his devotion to faith, passion for education and affinity for pop culture into the realm of edutainment; that is of education and entertainment, making his classes both memorable and meaningful for all that enter his classroom.
Sam Dema (01:16):
Antilope is a two time graduate at the university of Toronto; having earned his masters of teaching from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) and his honors bachelors of arts with high distinction where he studied english and religion. You’re gonna enjoy this interview because I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Chris. Let me know what you think. Shoot me an email email@example.com. After you listen today, I will see you on the other side of this conversation. Enjoy! Christopher, welcome to the High Performing Educator podcast. Huge pleasure to have you on the show. Start by introducing yourself and then share why you decided to depart from social media.
Christopher Antilope (01:55):
Well, Sam, thank you once again for having me on the show. Please feel free to call me Chris. Christopher is typically when I’m in trouble or if I’m or for only like professional moments, will I introduce myself. But once you start to get to know me, it’s Chris. In terms of social media, I mean, it’s, it’s interesting because I’ll always remember back to my time at OISE at U of T, my teacher’s college, my, one of my instructors names was Janet Marcus ,and she kept on repeating this thing that we, as humans are social animals that, which we are and I’m a real social guy. I like to consider myself an ambivert. And so I like being, I liked being on social media a lot, but something recently has been brewing where I needed time off. I wasn’t being the best version of myself, that which I was seeing on social media, where I was trying to connect with other people; lot of toxicity, online, lot of negativity.
Christopher Antilope (02:55):
And in this day and age where, you know, we’re in a time of chaos, we’re in a time of pandemic where things are pretty negative, I don’t need any more of that. So in the time that I have been off things have been good, been paying attention to myself, mental health, doing some exercises, we’re in lent right now. So that’s important that I pay attention to that, which is most important to me. And obviously that, which is most important to me, can’t be found you know, by using 140 or 200 characters on Twitter so it’s been good. I mean, it, it’s a bit, you know, different at first because you like to see what’s going on in the world. I love pop culture and that, you know, social media is a great form to connect with that, but it’s not what’s most important. So the time off has been quite nice. It’s more of a vacation, I’m never gonna, I’m not gonna close the door on a return. It’s not like I’m some, you know what’s it called celebrity online so it’s not like anyone’s really going to notice, but I do feel like it was time to take a break, stop and smell the roses for a little bit.
Sam Dema (04:05):
I love that. I, I made a similar decision on my 21st birthday and I set out to take a whole year off. And I have followed through with the commitment on Facebook, on inst on Instagram and on LinkedIn, the only platform I, I, I returned to very briefly and intentionally is on Twitter because a lot of teachers live there and I’m, I’m trying to reach more educators. So I saw you post that and on Twitter and it peaked my interest because I made a similar choice. There was some different reasons, but also some similar other ones. The first reason I did it was because I audited my, my usage and found that I was spending an average of three hours per day on social media. Mm. And I can tell you that from what I’ve seen online, that is very conservative to what most young people spend on social media.
Sam Dema (04:56):
Usually sometimes seven hours a day, eight hours a day. It’s, it’s pretty crazy. But three hours per day compounded over the span of a year, ends up being 1,100 something hours. And like yourself, I reflected and asked, you know, what could you use that time for? Like, what could that time be used on that might, you know teach you something, learn something new, develop new skills, build better relationships you know, whatever it is you wanna to use that time for. So that scared me. I also thought it’d be a cool experiment. And for me too, it was to try and dismantle my ego and then, and stop feeling the need to feel validated by others. Yeah. So I really resonated with that tweet and I just wanted to bring it up because you know, education is, is in a state of stress. You mentioned before this podcast that we’re all in the same boat and that boat is the Titanic.
Sam Dema (05:46):
I haven’t heard it. I haven’t heard it stated like that before. So I love that. And it’s true. It’s been a challenging time. And I find that social media may add to that challenge because we’re always seeing negative things. And even if you don’t intend to follow negative pages, it, it does pop up. So thank you for, for sharing that. I, I wanted to get it right out of the way at the beginning of the conversation. Cause I thought it was a very interesting topic. But tell us more about you. So like what led you into educate? Did you know you were gonna be a teacher growing up, share a little bit of your own personal journey.
Christopher Antilope (06:21):
So when it comes to being a teacher, I I’ll never forget what my grade 11 international business teacher Nelson Damaso. He said, he said this to the class, which, and it’s funny that I, I remember these small things cuz I wasn’t and I still not a business student. My dad’s a banker. He wanted me to Excel in in business, but he said, this one thing kind of off the, off the caller one day he said teaching is without a doubt, the greatest job in the world. And then he re he retracted. He said, it’s not even a job. He went along the lines of, you know, when you do it, you love, you never work a day in your life. So that’s something that has always resonated with me. And when I was in high school, I was big into theater and drama.
Christopher Antilope (07:08):
And I mean, I still am. And as I mentioned earlier, I love pop culture, film, television, comic books, as an English teacher. I love books of all of all genre and all types. And so I was really interested in studying theater and drama. I auditioned for the for the theater and drama studies program at the university of Toronto, it’s highly competitive. 24 people are admitted to the program over a thousand people auditioned. So I recall having to do two monologues. One of which was Shakespearean. I did one from Hamlet, not the, to be or not to be because that’s just overdone. I I had to sing a song. I don’t know what drove me to try and sing Bohemian rap city by queen. But I did, did I am, I am not a singer any in any way, shape or form.
Christopher Antilope (08:02):
And I had to do an interview somehow by the grace of God, I was enrolled into the program. I was accepted you know, as the 24th member into this highly competitive program. And so this was fantastic. I was gonna be able to live a, out my dream, entertaining people, doing impressions, you know, this, that, and otherwise being on stage. I love that. And I lived for that as the program started, we received notice kind of from our instructors that we wouldn’t be doing a lot of that acting. We wouldn’t be doing a lot of the performing rather we’d be having to do the, you know, the behind the scenes stuff. So I remember them saying, you’d need to learn how to sew. You’d need to learn how to use you know electric losing my train of thought here, basically knowing how to use a, saw to build the sets electricity, doing the lighting creating costumes, script writing.
Christopher Antilope (09:01):
And so I was taken aback because, you know, I sang Bohemian rap city. I, I did these monologues and yet I wouldn’t be able to put what I consider my God-given talents to you. I remember I was sitting at this very desk where I’m at now and I was reading through my anthropology textbook, cuz I still had to take the the required courses. That was a social science course. And you know, when you’re reading something, but you’re not actually reading it, your eyes are going over the words, but you’re not taking anything in. So that was me a September night back in 2013 and my mom came into my room and she said, you’re not liking this. You’re not loving it. And that’s one thing about me that stays true to this day. If I know that I don’t like something I’ll know it pretty much right from the start, which can be risky.
Christopher Antilope (09:56):
And so at that moment I had to make the decision of, okay, what can I do where I still have an audience? What can I do where I’m still able to be on stage? What can I do where I can, you know, kind of put on a, a, a certain map and perform low and behold. I mean, if, if I have students in front of me in rows and if I have, you know, a place in front of a classroom and if I’m able to put on a certain mask, well, I mean, I’m still doing what I love. It’s just in a different medium. And so that’s where, you know, I came to be a, a teacher and I’ve always loved educating, but it wasn’t until that, you know, news flash where it’s like, Hey, wait a second. I can actually, I can do this.
Christopher Antilope (10:49):
And to this day, I can still consider myself an entertainer, someone that educates and entertains simultaneously. I know in my class right now I’m teaching grade nine, academic English, we’re studying Romeo and Juliet, which for grade nine is actually the language is a lot more difficult than I would say is what’s studied in grade 10, which is typically McBeth. And so I try my best to bring everything to life in a very animated way. And in seeing that the kids laugh and seeing that the students get 500 year old words, because I’m able to do that, say no more. It’s, it’s, it’s fantastic being able to, to do all of that and bring my loves of entertaining and educating together.
Sam Dema (11:39):
I love it. I absolutely love it. I think that when you put passion into the things you teach, it becomes unforgettable to the students. And you’re someone who obviously tries to do that and strives to do that on a daily basis. I’m curious to know how do you engage and entertain your class and your students? What does that look like in a virtual environment?
Christopher Antilope (12:01):
So, oh, in a virtual, well, I still, regardless of whether or not I’m on a screen or 3d in front of, you know, the, the students that are in front of me, I’ll try and be as alive and as animated as possible, not animated, you know, in using a negative connotation. But I just, I try to show the students like what you said, that passion. Mm. What if I’m in front of them and I’m talking about how Shakespeare was from the 15 hundreds and he wrote many plays, they’re gonna stop being engaged. Yeah. But when I’m able to make it relative and relatable to the students. Okay. Yes. It’s important that we understand the history, but how can we get the kids engaged and it’s by, I try be as relatable as possible. So I’ll, I’ll ask them, you ever seen the film?
Christopher Antilope (13:01):
She’s the man with Amanda binds. Have you ever heard of the film 10 things I hate about you, have you ever heard of Westside story noo and Juliet? You know, bringing things that they’re aware of? It’s like, okay, well guess what? That was inspired by something from half a thousand years ago. Mm. So it’s through my animation and through me really trying to do the work in, all right, how can I make this relatable to the students? And I like to really decorate my, my PowerPoint, press presentations with images, words on a screen, they start to all look the same after a while. So I really try and I make it’s it’s art. I find it as a form of art. And I know that when I’m making, you know, my slides or my presentations, I can’t have a slide with just words. There needs to be sort of image whether it’s for decorative purposes or for critical thinking purposes, where the kids go. Hmm. Okay. Now he’s got those words there and he’s got that image there. How do they relate?
Sam Dema (14:07):
Christopher Antilope (14:08):
So it’s being relatable and trying to get the kids to figure out what relates as well.
Sam Dema (14:14):
Got it. Where does this, this philosophy come from? You obviously somewhere along the line of your early teaching journey, which is technically still right now, but when did you decide the lessons need to be engaging and relatable? And I need to make sure that I poor passion into my work. Was it because you had educators who had these attributes and had a huge impact on you? Was it because you had attributes that lacked these, these these character traits and you really wish they had them cuz it would’ve made their classes better. Like where does this personal philosophy come from?
Christopher Antilope (14:49):
That’s a great question, Sam. Part of it is kind of going against what I was taught in teachers college whereby it’s, you know, don’t teach in the way you were taught.
Sam Dema (15:05):
Christopher Antilope (15:05):
So I was taught in this similar way and it, I mean, it worked for me. I mean, I’m an educator now. So seeing, you know, my teachers did, did a good job, but also it’s that plus, you know, kind of a golden rule teach in the way that you wish to be taught.
Sam Dema (15:23):
Christopher Antilope (15:24):
And so I know that when I was in high school or even university, if there were just slides on slides on slides, full of paragraphs, I would zone out. Whereas if I had images and you know, some of us are, you know, image based learners, if we’re able to have images on screen and also things that we’re able to relate to, excuse me then. Yeah. So it, it stems from there, but it, it also stems from that idea of edutaining. Yes. So the images that I’ll have on screen they’ll be related relatable, but they’ll also, I’ll try and be comedic with them as well. Nice. So when I’m, when I’m giving feedback to students about essays or any sort of assignment, I’ll do a general because you know, there are things that are similar with students across the board. I’ll throw memes in there, kids from these days. Like I still love memes. I remember when memes, you know, there were certain, you know, I feel like everything these days can become a meme.
Sam Dema (16:30):
Christopher Antilope (16:31):
But also that works to my advantage. And that kind of talks to the social media a bit early on where, you know, I’m kind of shooting myself in the foot by taking this vacation because that might mean I’m not on the same lines as the students. So while I might not be posting things, I might still be there lurking in the shadows, see what’s going on. So it, I try and make things as relatable as possible because I know that that is how I would like to be taught
Sam Dema (17:08):
In a sense. I love that. Yeah. I love it. And there’s a, I think there’s a book and I can’t remember the author’s name, but the book is called the platinum rule and it builds on the golden rule and it says, treat others how you would like to be treated a hundred percent what’s next is treat others the way they would like to be treated. And I would argue that students, if you ask them, how would you like to be taught? They would tell you using memes, you using engaging animation and passion within your lectures. That was something that drew me to my teacher who changed my life, his name, Mike loud foot. Like the dude would go stand in front of us, whether it be virtual or in person, I don’t think it’d make a difference. The guy would yell like you would, he was so excited about what he was teaching. And I think that’s super important question for you. How do you motivate yourself? Like what keeps you driven and motivated to show up every day and teach these kids and be animated on the days where you don’t feel like it?
Christopher Antilope (18:07):
Well, I mean, that’s the thing, I mean, to go back to what my, my business teacher, Mr. Damaso said, you know, do what you love. You never work a day in your life. I love performing. Yep. And in being a performer or an actor, sometimes you have to be willing. I don’t wanna say to make a fool of yourself, but you need to, I don’t know. It’s, it’s almost innate. So when I’m teaching Macbeth and you know, there’s a scene in the play where Macbeth sees, you know, the ghost of his friend. Yeah. I’m trying to relate to the students that it’s not some sort of, you know, okay, woo. There’s a ghost. That’s on stage. No, I scream. I yell. I try and replicate what it would have been like, and that that’ll either wake them up. It’ll make them laugh. I’m not ashamed. Yeah. I’m not. If, if, if I know that, okay, I’ve gotten the student’s attention, they’re enjoying this. They’re getting it. Oh please. I don’t, I don’t need to worry about whether they think I’m a goof or not. I know I’m a goof. That’s fine. That’s fine. So how do I stay motivated? I, I wake up, I do what I love. Hmm. And so I don’t, I don’t need any extra motivator. I mean, other than caffeine that really helps.
Christopher Antilope (19:29):
Caffeine helps. And, but, but really there’s nothing extra. I need to say, oh, you know, I, I gotta go. I never say to anyone. Okay. Yeah, I got work. Or I just got home from work or I’m going to work. I say, I’m going to school.
Sam Dema (19:45):
Christopher Antilope (19:46):
Not only because that’s where I’m going, but also I’m going to as a teacher, but I’m also going to school as a student. Cause these kids are teaching me as well.
Sam Dema (19:58):
Say no more.
Christopher Antilope (20:00):
Yeah. I’m always, I am always open to learning and I do. These kids teach me so much and they know more than I could ever know.
Sam Dema (20:09):
I love it. No, that’s awesome. And wow, man, you struck a core. You said I do what I love and I’m, I’m not gonna work. I’m going to school. If there’s, you know, you mentioned earlier that you’re someone who knows very quickly, like at the start of something, whether you love it or not, if there’s an educator listening who is having those feelings of, ah, I’m not sure if this is what I should be doing or I feel like this is work and I, I’m not really enjoying it right now. Like what words of advice could you share with, with an educator? Like what would you, what could you offer say?
Christopher Antilope (20:46):
Well, I mean, that question is heavier, has never been so heavy yeah. Than in this time. Right now when I was in teachers college, I remember kind of getting the, you know, the talking to, as you know, this isn’t the best time to become a teacher because of the shortages, because of, you know, the, the powers that be will say in government. And now, okay, we’ve got COVID and there are people that I know that are currently teachers with permanent jobs that are feeling this way, because these are trying times we are being tested. So the words that I will say to those that, you know, might be feeling these ways is, you know, I don’t, I don’t mean to sound cliche. Don’t give up.
Sam Dema (21:37):
Christopher Antilope (21:38):
Don’t give up because truthfully, when people, when I get the, the question every now and then, oh, what would you do if you couldn’t be a teacher? I, I don’t think I could give an answer immediately. I, this is what I love. This is who I am. Yep. I’m a teacher. So, and it, it’s funny because when other people who aren’t teachers have asked me, how’s this year going, it’s a lot different talking to them versus talking to other teachers. Yeah. Cause it’s really one of those. You don’t know what it’s like until, or unless you’re actually in it. So to those of you that want to do this, do it.
Sam Dema (22:25):
Christopher Antilope (22:25):
Just, just like Nike do it. I it’s, and you won’t regret it. You will not regret it. It is the best thing in the world.
Sam Dema (22:38):
Love it. I love that. That’s great advice. Just do it. I think it’s important to understand, like, like you said, it’s different when you talk to someone outside the vocation of teaching verse is when you talk to someone inside, it’s the whole idea of, you know, the pilot of an airplane, wouldn’t ask a passenger, Hey, can you come fly the plane? You know, like, so I think the feedback that, that an educator can take away is, you know, don’t, don’t talk to your, your family outside of education for support go find, and your colleagues, you know, talk to them, they’ll be able to give you, you know, good advice and hopefully be able to lift up your spirits during this time.
Christopher Antilope (23:18):
Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I don’t wanna entirely discount what other people, non teachers have to say, because you know what everyone has tidbits of wisdom. There’s a university professor wrote a book, 12 rules for life. And one of his rules is assume that the person you are listening to might know something, you don’t love it. And that’s how I try to live where it’s like, you know what, no, this person, regardless of who they are, I’m gonna listen to them because they might have that little nugget of wisdom that can set me on the right path. So it’s a matter of keeping, keeping your ears in your eyes open and doing what you love.
Sam Dema (24:07):
Love it. I love that. And I think what’s also interesting is, you know, you mentioned that if someone asked you, if you weren’t a teacher, what would you do? I think me knowing how you feel about teaching, I would’ve responded saying I will teach. It might just be in a different way. Like if you’re obsessed with teaching you could, you’ll find a way to teach if you’re obsessed, you know, if you’re obsessed with nursing, you’ll find a way to be a service to people, right? Like even if it doesn’t happen the way you envision it to. So I think that’s also an interesting, you know, an interesting thing to, to, to chat about real quick. When did you decide, right? Like after you kind of realized the, the acting path wasn’t gonna work out. When was the moment you decided I’m gonna become a teacher? Like, I know that I understand you went to school and you got in and it was going well. Like, what was the exact moment? You said, no, I’m going, I’m gonna shift and, and change this just a little bit.
Christopher Antilope (25:02):
Well, in a way, I feel like it was there all along. And it’s funny. It’s funny you ask that because I remember, and it’s funny how little bits of memory will come back to you. In, in the weirdest of times, I was in grade nine English and my grade nine English teacher was Mrs. O’neil and oh, I loved her. She was fantastic. And, and we reconnected a couple years ago. She actually helped me with my master of teaching research paper. I interviewed her for that and I don’t know what drove me, but one day she had to just step out of class. And I took her spot at the front of the class. She used to sit on the front of the, a desk, cross her legs and kind of, you know, wave them back and forth. And I did that. And I remember, you know, in quotation marks teaching the lesson. So I feel like it was there all along, but at that same time, that person there is, you know, that was the origin story of who I am today. Here was some class clown grade nine, academic English, student performing, but at the same time teaching.
Sam Dema (26:19):
Christopher Antilope (26:20):
So, I mean, to answer your question, it, the decision came very quickly, you know, it was, I think it was literally the third day of my undergraduate studies at university of Toronto where I said, I can’t do this acting route because what they’re asking of me is not going to make me happy. It was going to be incredibly demanding. And to those that graduated, God bless all of them. I wished them nothing but the best. And I remember having to depart from them. We had already shared some memories and they were great people, but my path was not L yeah, it wasn’t there. And I am, as you could tell a lot happier for it.
Sam Dema (27:02):
I love the, that you, you mentioned something interesting that when you were in high school, you were quote unquote, the class clown, right. Or, or striving to be like that. And I have a colleague, his name’s Josh ship. He’s also a speaker and he always mentions a young person’s most promising characteristics. Most often first appear a as an annoyance. And he had a similar situation where in high school, he always tried to annoy the students or not annoyed, but make them laugh. And, you know, his teacher pulled him aside and said, when you get your students laughing, they listen. And when you get them listening, you have an opportunity to influence. And it stuck with me. Do you believe that your origins as class clown has led to your, your teaching philosophy of entertaining and educating at the same time?
Christopher Antilope (27:55):
Yeah. I mean, I would say so. And I mean, by no means was I that, that type totally get it. Class clown, that was annoying. I, I’ll defend my integrity.
Sam Dema (28:05):
Christopher Antilope (28:06):
I, I found my humor as a, as a high school student a little bit smarter than your, you know, stereotypical class clown, but You might have to ask that question again.
Sam Dema (28:20):
Yeah. I was gonna say, do you think that the character trait of being funny, I or of making other students laugh, led you towards this philosophy of edutainment? Cause you can be passionate and lack humor. But I think if you have both, it leads for like a very engaging presentation in class.
Christopher Antilope (28:41):
Yeah. I just, I feel myself nice when I’m in front of the students in, in a very appropriate professional way. Yeah. So, and I completely agree that there are times obviously when we’re teaching certain elements that might not be as entertaining. Cuz look, when, and by no means, am I saying that when students enter my classroom, it’s the same as entering a comedy club. Hmm. Right. And, and I, talking to that I have with my students is, you know, don’t don’t mistake my nature as being an easy marker or as being someone that doesn’t care care because I, I strongly care. I strongly care because these kids not to sound cliche, they are the future. And when I teach, I want them to be better when they leave my class or when they leave high school than when they entered my class or the high school itself.
Christopher Antilope (29:51):
So in using the entertaining factor. Yeah. Part of it is so that I can exercise my, my funny bone, but it’s also as a way that, Hey, this God given gift of humor, I can actually put to use and I can, I can make the students pay attention more. Like, like I said, we’ve been doing Romeo and Juliet and I’ve been really stressing the fact that ladies and gentlemen, this is a story fictitious of course, about a 16 year old guy and a 13 year old girl who agreed to get married within 12 hours of meeting each other and look, you’re laughing. Yeah. But that’s it, when I tell to the students who are in that age range, they take a step back and go, oh my gosh, that’s weird. And it’s that weirdness that I will try and, you know, captivate where it’s like, yeah, that’s weird, laugh about it. Let’s pay attention. Mm. And then they do, it’s like, okay, well, let’s forget kind of about the, the weird language. Let’s pay attention to the story. Let’s pay attention to this 500 year old text that we’re still studying today because we must be studying it for a reason if it’s, if we’ve been doing it for 500 years.
Sam Dema (31:16):
Cool. Love that. That’s a great answer. There’s a benefit to all character traits. And I think humor is a great one, especially I think what’s most important is that you said you feel, you feel yourself when you use it. And I think authenticity is the most important thing. And you know, you don’t have to be a funny teacher if you’re not a funny teacher, if you’re listening to this exactly. If that’s who you are, then be who you are because the students will always gravitate towards that authentic teaching style. Even in speaking, right. Any type of presenting. I remember when I started speaking, I used to look at other speakers and aspire to sound like them or appear like them. And I think I became more influential when I actually returned back to myself and did the things that would make me feel like myself and stop trying to do those other things. Curious though, if you could give your younger educator self advice knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self? Huh. And you’re still pretty young. So,
Christopher Antilope (32:19):
And I mean, I was gonna bring that up. I, cause I’m only in my third year of teaching. Yep. If I could tell, so what year are we talking? Are we talking my, my first year?
Sam Dema (32:32):
Yeah. First year in teaching. And what’s interesting is that some people have been in teaching 20 years. Right. And they look back it. I think we can reflect at any stage, whether it’s one year in teaching or three years, it just gives a different perspective. So I’m curious to know you’re three years in now, if you could go back to your first day of teaching you finished the day. What advice would you give your younger, your younger self?
Christopher Antilope (32:57):
Take it one day at a time.
Sam Dema (33:00):
Christopher Antilope (33:01):
And like, I’ll, I’ll be honest with you, Sam. My first, I’ll say month of teaching, I was so I was blessed to get a long term, occasional position straight out of teacher’s college. So I gradual waited in 2018, June of 2018. And that September I was blessed with a full year long-term occasional position. And I kind of, you know, in my mindset there was, well, if not now, then when, mm, the best experience is experience. And I knew that I wanted a classroom and I wanted students and I wanted to do what I love. Well, let me tell you, I had never experienced anxiety attacks until that first day, week. I’ve never wept like that in my life. And I didn’t know where it was coming from that it was so weird because, and this isn’t to say that teachers college didn’t prepare me because teachers college prepared me for the theory and my teaching placements. They prepared me for what life in a classroom looks like if I hadn’t been in one before.
Sam Dema (34:25):
Christopher Antilope (34:27):
If you catch my drift here, and if I was having anxiety attacks for a month, that might go on to say, Hmm, I wasn’t prepared for some elements. Right. So I was received advice, oh man. I, I remember talking to friends and family of mine that were teachers and I was craving advice. I needed something because it’s not that I was having doubts, but in my, like, I was literally weeping on my couch. And once again, my mom came down and she says, you know, do you think it was too soon? Do you still wanna do do this? And I said, oh, absolutely. I want to do this. I’m not giving up here. And so I received the advice from my future. Sister-In-Law, you know, take it one day at a time. And if there’s anything that I could tell my younger teaching self, same thing, make sure you know, what you’re teaching for tomorrow. Mm. And like so much can happen. And so much does happen, especially in this day and age of pandemic, where it is literally all in flight planning.
Sam Dema (35:36):
Christopher Antilope (35:37):
I, I mean, you know, three years into it, man, I’m I’m so I don’t wanna say I’m comfortable cuz I don’t want that to make it sound like I’m lazy or anything, but I don’t have to worry about all that stuff because it’s, I’ve experienced it now. I’ve gotten that first hand experience. I know what we’re dealing with. I pandemic COVID okay, fine. Let’s throw that into the mix. I know how to deal with everything else. Were I a first year teacher going into this? I pray for those.
Sam Dema (36:07):
Christopher Antilope (36:08):
That is obviously incredibly tough. And I wouldn’t, you know, but it’s interesting. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone, but that’s something that my fiance is undergoing right now for year permanent teaching full year teaching job teaching virtually in the middle of the pandemic,
Sam Dema (36:24):
But you know, what’s yeah. You know, what’s interesting. I was gonna say she hasn’t had experience otherwise. So yes, if this is her first year, she has nothing to compare it to except for the expectations of others. So I, I think what’s interesting is about first year teachers is that they’re gonna teach virtually for the first time ever for their first year ever. It might be challenging. And then they’re gonna get this amazing reward of going into the classroom, you know, once this all passes, hopefully that, that it does. And they’re gonna say, wow, I’m so grateful to be in the classroom. And hopefully that influences the rest of their teaching career whenever they have the opportunity to be in person with students. But that’s beautiful advice. That’s great advice. Did you have a last thought there? Sorry. I think I cut you off slightly.
Christopher Antilope (37:12):
No, no. All I was gonna do was put in a plugin for my fiance, because I know please has, it has been challenging. They, this year has been incredibly challenging, but I know, and I have seen the work that she, Sarah if she’s ever going to be listening to this, she has poured her heart and her soul literally into this. And from the, the feedback that I have heard and from seeing what she’s been able to do that like makes me go, huh? I gotta, I gotta step this up a little bit. Nice because she’s, you know, she’s putting me to shame in some respects, but no, Sarah, she’s doing a fantastic job. Her students are lucky to have her. And I’m not just saying that because she’s my fiance.
Sam Dema (37:58):
I love that. Chris, this has been a great conversation. Thank you so much for taking some time to chat on the podcast. If someone wants to reach out to you, talk about how to be a, an edutainer or, you know, incorporate anything we talked about into their lessons, or just wants to have a conversation about teaching with you. What would be the best way for someone to reach out?
Christopher Antilope (38:17):
Well, like I said earlier, even though I’m taking this little sabbatical or vacation from Twitter, I might still be lurking in, in those shadows so you can find me on Twitter. I’ll still get the notification you can find me at all right. You ready for this folks? The cantalope is my is my name. Yes. My parents had the hindsight of blessing me with a first name that starts with a C and having my last name being Loppe, which is the Italian translation to antelope, So let’s capitalize on the antelope.
Sam Dema (38:49):
I love it. I love it. There’s the, the edutator coming out, even in your stage name.
Christopher Antilope (38:54):
That’s it, That’s it honest to God, but Sam, thank you so much for having me. I, I would love to talk with you again. I don’t know if you have sequel guests, but by all means I’d love to talk some more. Especially in a time maybe out of COVID to see how things are going ’cause it’s, it’s another ballgame right here.
Sam Dema (39:14):
We will a hundred percent do a part two a hundred percent. Maybe we can share some cantaloupe while we, while we record.
Christopher Antilope (39:22):
Hey, you know what? I, I do love some cantaloupe with some antipasto, have a little bit of Peru. That’s beautiful, Sam, thank you so much for having me once again.
Sam Dema (39:31):
Chris, talk soon.
Christopher Antilope (39:33):
Sam Dema (39:34):
And there you have it. Another amazing guest, an amazing interview on the High Performing Educator podcast. As always, if you enjoy these episodes, please consider leaving a rating and review so other educators like yourself can find this content and benefit from it. And here’s an exclusive opportunity that I mentioned at the start of the show; f you want meet the guest on today’s episode, if you wanna meet any of the guests that we have interviewed, consider going to www.highperformingeducator.com and signing up to join the exclusive network, you’ll have access to networking events throughout 2021 and other special opportunities. And I promise I will not fill your inbox. Talk to you soon. I’ll see you on the next episode.
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