The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 12, 2013

Teacher set to retire after nearly four decades

NORMAN — Norman North High School English teacher Claudia Swisher has been at the front of a classroom on the first day of school 39 times, and each of those days has consistently been followed by a night of little sleep.

“The night before every single first day of school I haven’t slept a wink,” Swisher said. “I just can’t — I’m excited, I’m nervous, I worry about being prepared and on time, it has never gotten old.”

First-day excitement and anxiety has been an unchanging part of Swisher’s nearly four decades as a teacher, but it’s perhaps one of the only attributes she shares with the teacher she was on her first day of class in 1974.

“I was overdressed and underprepared,” Swisher said of her first day, laughing. “I mispronounced ‘centrifugal’ and one of my students had to correct me. That year I fell in love with kids but I didn’t know how to be their teacher.”

Calling her first year a “horror story,” Swisher’s tenure teaching self-contained sixth grade in a rural public school exposed her to much more than the common challenges and crises faced by new teachers.

“I was prepared to teach English and literature, and as a self-contained sixth grade teacher I was also teaching everything else. By the second semester I was only on page 40 of the math book, and when I brought our social studies text to an older teacher to say it was out of date, she said ‘do your own lessons,’” Swisher said. “The students and I struggled together and I don’t think I did any lasting damage.”

In spite of their daunting nature, the challenges of Swisher’s first year afforded some triumphs she can still be proud of today.

“One of the lessons I taught was rat lab, in which I made a great, huge deal about how I was the only one who could hold the rat — I was trained — the children could pet the rat but I was the one to handle it. This led the children to believe I was trained to handle any live animal, and later in the year a little boy brought a live snake in a jar,” Swisher said. “Snakes are my thing, they scare the life out of me, but I was able to very calmly say ‘interesting snake, now go take him outside.’ The kids had no idea how badly I was shaking,” Swisher said, laughing.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • City manager calls Moore strong while addressing Chamber

    MOORE — Moore’s City Manager Steve Eddy could have quoted Dickens: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Eddy, with help from Mayor Glenn Lewis, reported on Tuesday on the State of the City to the Moore Chamber of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • walmart City leaders say ‘yes’ to Wal-Mart supercenter postponement

    Despite complaints that a postponement request was in the eleventh hour, a zoning change in east Norman was put on hold Tuesday night. The proposal to rezone property at Cedar Lane Road between 24th Avenue Southeast and Highway 77 ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Solar cars 7 Solar cars use Norman area during pit stop

    Flat, low to the ground with reflective panels and bright colors, these moving vehicles look more like cartoon spaceships than solar race cars. But these funny looking cars represent exactly what the American Solar Challenge (ASC) ...

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Motorcyclist injured in collision

    A motorcyclist was injured in a collision Tuesday night in Norman....

    July 23, 2014

  • Police log

    Police responded to the following incidents Monday: · 1:37 a.m. stolen vehicle, 2100 block of West Brooks Street · 6:27 a.m. larceny report, 200 block of Driftwood Drive · 8:58 a.m. harassment or threats report, 1200 ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Felonies filed

    The following people were charged with felony counts in the Cleveland County Court Clerk’s Office: · Linda Marquez, 36, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, driving a motor vehicle under the influence of ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Leaving the scene of an accident

    A Norman woman was charged Tuesday with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in injury over the weekend in Moore. Linda Marquez, 36, also faces a misdemeanor charge of driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Norman firefighter performs Heimlich maneuver on Moore man after he chokes on food

    What started out as a normal night out for a Moore couple ended with them being thankful a firefighter was in the right place at the right time....

    July 22, 2014

  • 18-year-old killed; 72-year-old man, young boy injured

    Those involved in the wreck Friday near 136th Avenue and South Sooner Road were identified Monday by Oklahoma City police. Logan Rosado-Santoni, 18, was pronounced dead on the scene after the 4:30 p.m. multi-vehicle wreck. Two others were ...

    July 22, 2014

  • New AP program to begin in Norman

    NORMAN — Norman Public Schools Board of Education learned about Advanced Placement Capstone at a regular board meeting Monday....

    July 22, 2014