Teachers Can Change Your World

Ode to Dr. Cooper

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Opening up the world to a kid
Opening up the world to a kid

Dr. Robert Cooper was my high school history teacher.  He hosted a geography contest each year called The Bobby Bowl.  The contest was wildly popular and most competitive.

Much of the fun was studying for the Bowl with my dad. He and I would make up silly mnemonic devices to remember that Amman is the capital of Jordan (“Jordan is a man”).  Or that Lome is the capital of Togo (“loan me your toga”). 

Today, when the news mentions a country, I know where it is.  I most often know what it borders.  I’ll recall the seas surrounding it and the major rivers running through it.  

Dr. Cooper opened up the world to this Alabama kid who had never been on an airplane.  I have now traveled to 46 countries, each flagged on a magnetic wall map in my office.  There are still far too many places left unseen, and when my plane approaches, I’ll know the name of the mountain range below.  I have a post-pandemic bag packed and ready to go. 

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.  Broad, wholesome, charitable views of  men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.  –Mark Twain

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...


    Steven Weinstein of ‘Seismic Capital Company’: “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity”

    by Jason Remillard

    Steven Weinstein of ‘Seismic Capital Company’: “Change is not a threat, it’s an opportunity”

    by Jason Hartman
    skynesher / Getty Images
    How Teachers Thrive//

    Stephanie Ruhle: Saying Thanks to the Teacher Who Changed My Son’s Life

    by Stephanie Ruhle, Julie Brown, Administrative Assistant to Anchors, NBC News
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.