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May 10, 2014

Norman High teacher named Cosmos Teacher of the Week

NORMAN — Working with a kid with attitude who had a D in geometry is what hooked David Askey on teaching. As a geophysicist, Askey began to tutor as part of his job’s outreach program. Thinking he’d spend a little time helping some kids with schoolwork, Askey’s first student was as he described him a “tough nut to crack.” But despite the frustration, the challenge invigorated Askey and he wouldn’t give up on the kid.

“When he got it, the smile on his face. I thought, ‘that’s something to give a whole life to,’” said Askey, Norman High School physics teacher and coach of the internationally competitive Norman Advanced Robotics team.

Askey was recently selected as “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” Star Science Teacher of the Week. Each week the national broadcast recognizes a science teacher from across the U.S.

Askey’s student Emily Black nominated him for the honor after watching “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” for class credit. Askey said he didn’t really think anything of the nomination, even after the broadcast contacted him with an inquiry for more information about his teaching experience, until a friend called to tell him they had seen him featured on “Cosmos.”

This is Askey’s 28th year at Norman High and he said he has no desire to go anywhere else.

“I feel supported and they protect the rights of a teacher,” he said of Norman Public Schools. “They provide teachers with ideas on how to be better without forcing it on you.”

Askey said his classes don’t use a textbook but rely on labs, hands-on activities, and problem solving. Students are asked to come up with a relationship between physics principles and quantify it. Askey said every class period he has students go up to the dry erase board and work out problems.

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