APUSH-ing his students to do their best: Colin Kloster


Submitted by Mr. Kloster

Mr. Kloster in a Winnie the Pooh costume, as dared by his students.

This month, the teacher feature is on a teacher who is witty, engaging, and intelligent. Mr. Colin Kloster, an APUSH and MUSH teacher here at North, is also a coach of the knowledge bowl team, and has a very dynamic presence.
He graduated from MSUM after attending Mandan High School, but he also did classes at many different schools throughout getting his four degrees: three undergraduates and a master’s degree.
Kloster originally started teaching because of the money. “I might be the only person in the history of teaching that got into it initially for the money.” Yes, that’s directly from him. He has always loved history. Even now, his main hobby at home is history. He wanted to work at a museum when he was going through school at MSUM, but realized quickly it didn’t pay very well. It was only after he got his degree and got to his mid-20s that he decided to become a history teacher.”
He did eventually grow to love it though. When asked about his favorite part of teaching, he immediately said students without hesitation. He loves working with students. “You guys have energy and a life, it’s not even close, it is by far the best part of this job.” Similarly, when asked about his least favorite part, it was immediate: Grading essays. When given the suggestion to not do essays however, he shot it down.
Apparently, the most interesting thing about Kloster is that he can name any ‘70s or ‘80s song from just two notes. His first answer was ‘I shot a man in Reno and watched him die’, but I assumed that wasn’t serious. He also dressed up in a Winnie the Pooh costume to teach after a bet that his students initiated because of a charity event. “They said: ‘If we raise this much money will you dress up in a Winnie the Pooh costume’…Who has a Winnie the Pooh costume?! In my size!?” Again, the suggestion of making it an annual tradition was shot down by him, unfortunately.
Another interesting fact is that his dad walked in the Selma marches with Martin Luther King and even met him. “He just very casually said ‘Oh, did I ever tell you about the time I marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma?’ No! I’ve been teaching history for ten years and you’ve never told me this?…My dad was in Selma during the big Selma march in ‘65.”
His favorite song is “‘Love Is Watching’ by Todd Kloster. He’s my brother. He’s terrible. He’s just awful.” His favorite holiday is Memorial Day because his birthday often falls on that day. His favorite class to teach is middle class according to him. His favorite president is “G Dubs” and his favorite historical event is World War I. He often talks about his love for George Washington, making it very clear he likes him. He also talks about Abraham Lincoln quite a bit, so it’s fairly clear what his two favorite presidents are.
Any student who has him will tell you he will banter and teach at the same time, as well as make jokes that really shouldn’t be funny, yet they are. “Everyone loves a good parfait. I learned that in ‘Shrek.’”
He also has a staple of the ‘daily weirds’, which are part of his slideshow notes. These daily weirds give students a brain break while also boosting their moods. “That was an accident… some student sent me a picture that was pretty funny, so I shared it with the class and they laughed, and I thought ‘this is great!.’ So I found another picture the next day and put the caption ‘Daily Weird.’”
Kloster fosters an incredible environment while ensuring students know the essential history of America. He also ensures that both sides of the story are taught, no matter if he agrees with it or not. His advice for incoming APUSH students is: “Anybody can do it. No, don’t say anybody. Most people. You’d be surprised what you’re capable of. If you’re willing to put in the time, you can succeed in APUSH.”
He is also very patient with his classes, as many of them are insufferable (not second period first semester though…he loves us). He encourages conversation and questions, and never makes anyone feel bad for asking questions, even if they are silly ones. His personality really shines through in his classes. His room is filled with random decorations that he had been given or had bought on trips with students. He is retiring in five years after 25 years of teaching, and according to him, he is going to become part of the Space Force.
Overall, Mr. Kloster is an amazing teacher who fosters amazing minds. He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate about history, which provides for a very good combination. I would encourage any incoming students to take APUSH.