CCA middle school teacher pursues MMA passions outside classroom
CCA offers schedule flexibility for students and teachers, like Ted Giantini, a seventh-grade language arts teacher and MMA referee.
Some people look forward to unwinding after a long day at work by taking a hot shower, reading a book or watching some TV – not Ted Giantini. Giantini is a middle school language arts teacher at CCA, and a mixed martial arts (MMA) judge and referee.
Giantini has been participating in traditional Chinese kung fu for 25 years. He began his refereeing journey when there were no kung fu schools in Virginia, where he was living.
Since there were no kung fu schools near him, Giantini decided to get involved in MMA. He has been refereeing and judging MMA since 2008 in Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Giantini has a very scheduled life. Traditional Chinese kung fu and power lifting are his “me time.” He is passionate about lifting and martial arts training and he is able to pursue what he loves by carefully scheduling his day.
Giantini said CCA has phenomenal middle school administrators who have been extremely supportive of his passion. He is able to work from home in the morning if he has an away competition in Philly or Delaware.
“The flexibility from CCA has been a big part in me being able to do my other interests,” Giantini said.
Giantini said because there are already scheduled work-from-home days he is able to do his live lesson and head out the door for the fights.
He is able to pursue his passions “because of his job” at CCA. If he worked in a traditional school, he doesn’t believe he would be able to referee as much as he does due to time-off and contracts.
"Our students are able to be flexible with their schedules and so are the teachers” Giantini said.
“As teachers, we are always encouraging our students to go out and do great things, and we have to be able to do it too.”
Giantini wanted to show his students that they could pursue their passions while getting their necessary work done. “Maybe that motivates five or six of all of our students,” he said, “That’s still five or six students that are motivated or pushed to go that extra step!”
In the fall of 2017, Giantini was invited to serve as a foreign referee in Germany for full contact kung fu fights. They did not want German referees presiding over the German National Team so a few referees from the United States stepped in.
Thanks to the convenience of CCA, Giantini created a video for his students from the London Heathrow airport.
In 2015, Giantini was invited to Mendoza, Argentina to compete in Chinese wrestling.
“When I was in Argentina, I communicated with students via webmail from my hotel in Mendoza,” Giantini said, “I actually opened up the live lesson for them one morning.”
Students heard about his travels and meet one of his friends before he headed out to his tournament.