Timothy Cooper, AP Human Geography, 9th Grade English & AP Government and Politics Teacher at Corbett High School in Corbett, Oregon
Nominated by Tolinda Sumpter (student)
I have two classes with Mr. Cooper; Freshman English and Advanced Placement Human Geography. He also teaches Advanced Placement Government and Politics, and 9th Grade English. My friends and I love Mr. Cooper’s enthusiasm and high energy. We look forward to his classes. One of the things Mr. Cooper does that makes him different is he uses a lot of metaphors. For example, he recently used a metaphor of a black hole to encourage us to keep our assignments current and not get behind on our school work instead of getting sucked into a black hole and dying a fast death. Mr. Cooper has a funny sense of humor and uses sarcastic comebacks. He uses memes to make subjects entertaining. His humor is one of the things that make his classes and learning fun. He even makes AP Geography fun. I would love to see him get recognition for the excellent work he does.
Congrats, Timothy, from all of us at K103! Get to know Timothy Cooper:
What inspired you to become an educator?
Several things. My journey to being an educator was started by having great teachers myself From Mrs. Boling, my kindergarten teacher; right though Middle and High School (Sellwood and Benson respectively). But I probably was most influenced in this direction by my time at Camp Namanu as a counselor and by working as a staff member at Outdoor School. I think spending much of my early adulthood in that kind of high-intensity environment gave me a lot of patience and insight in working with school-age kids as well as the ability to put on a "show" when you do something.
What do you like most about teaching?
There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest is the ability to see the growth in a student's mindset and skills as they put the things they already knew together with the things they learn in class. This is particularly fun in my Geography class, which is the one I enjoy teaching the most.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
Honestly, I think my patience and recognition that a lot students have difficulties in both behavior and academic performance not because they just make bad choices, but because in a lot of cases their home life and situation outside school isn't ideal. Trying to keep them engaged as much as they can be is almost always the right course.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
I want parents to know that as a teacher and a parent, I know there's a gulf between the kid I see and the kid you see some of the times. Sometimes they have struggles we don't know about and sometimes they make mistakes at school that they don't display at home. All of that is normal, if difficult at times, and the job we have is to try and muddle through it all and get the best result for the kid we can.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
There are so many. Over the years there have been many wonderful ways students have taken the things we have done in class. Recently one of my students tried to make a Rap version of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "Charge of the Light Brigade." "Tried" would be the operative word in this circumstance. But the real fun is after the end of the school year. Corbett High School operates what we call an "AP for all" curriculum where all students take AP classes. These are challenging classes with a lot of content and for the 9th Graders I teach, it can be a real hard grind. However, at the end of the year when they take the comprehensive exam for college level credit, I am frequently surprised and impressed by how well students do. Sometimes some of the greatest successes come from sources I didn't expect.