The man behind the bow tie

    Walking through Etowah East is a new face in the language department. French and Spanish teacher Tony Barrett, the man behind the bow tie, is an expert at learning languages. Although he speaks six other languages, Barrett’s favorite is the language of sports.

    “Through sports, I can connect to students on a deeper level,” Barrett said.  

    Although Barrett is not coaching at Etowah this year, he plans to after he gets his Ph.D. He is currently studying at the University of Kentucky, getting his educational leadership degree. Barrett has past experiences coaching football and wrestling when he was at Lambert High School in Forsyth County, and he recognizes many similarities in the techniques that both sports and languages use.  

    “Communication skills are very important in both [teaching and coaching]. You must communicate expectations, feedback, and point out where students are doing a great job. Both are similar in that you have to understand the result of what you want to achieve, and you have to understand the current reality to assess the best way to achieve your goals in a subject or in sports,” Barrett said.  

    Along with sports, Barrett grew up loving languages. He taught himself French at an early age, then learned Spanish in college. He now studies Portuguese, Italian, and Arabic in his free time.   

    “I went to the Universidad Veracruzana in Xalapa, Mexico, in order to perfect my Spanish-speaking skills,” Barrett said.  

    Barrett is found wearing different types of bow ties, from polka dots, stripes to every color of the rainbow. His love for the accessory is second only to his love of his family and sports.  

    “Bow ties show my professional, yet funny side,” Barrett said. 

    When in need to learn a new language or be inspired by his bow tie obsession, students can find Barrett in room EE113.