SWITCH: Local principal becomes a 6th grader while 6th grader becomes principal at Hobgood Elementary

LEFT: Dr. Tammy Garrett / RIGHT: 6th grader, Antonesia Overton

As Hobgood's Principal, Dr. Tammy Garrett walked the halls as a 6th grade student; 6th grader, Antonesia Overton walked the halls as principal. Overton won an essay contest on "Why I Should Be Principal for a Day" and secured the role of principal.

"Some kids want to be followers instead of leaders. I wrote about why I want to be a leader," says Overton. "I want to help students realize their strengths and show them they can fulfill their dreams." As an aspiring law professor, Overton saw this as an opportunity to begin building her resume.

Dr. Garrett explained that this project was all about engaging with the students. She wanted to see learning through their eyes. "The kids worked so hard to make me feel like a student," Garrett explained. "I told them to call me by my first name. I was able to interact with them on a personal level and really understand their individual personalities."

"This experiment taught me more than I ever could have imagined." says Garrett. The project was designed to understand if the students were engaged and learning and not just being taught to. "I checked out the culture in the classrooms, in the cafeteria, during ESP, everywhere. I wanted to make sure they were engaged."

Student engagement is the golden rule of teaching. Engagement practices such as making activities meaningful, providing support, embracing collaborative learning and establishing positive teacher-student relationships prove invaluable in the classroom.

As for Overton, "I don't think I want to be a principal tomorrow," she told Garrett. "I didn't realize how much you walk around." Overton learned some of the struggles principals face. At the end of the day, she thinks being a student is a better fit for her right now.

When asked about an easy, unexpected take away from her day, Garrett says the next time she orders cafeteria tables, she will look for a larger size for her older students.

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