The Big Yawp


Fourteen years ago, I drove more than 4,000 miles to Alaska in a truck packed with my most beloved possessions and thoughts of adventure. A job at the Anchorage Daily News lured me to this place. Working as a sports journalist was an amazing job while it lasted, but another adventure was inevitable after I met my wife, who inspired me to enter the world of teaching.

After finishing a year of student teaching and graduating with my M.A.T. in Secondary Education at the University of Alaska Southeast, my wife and I spent two years teaching English in Costa Rica for the Peace Corps. When we returned, we spent a year in Minneapolis while my wife earned her master’s degree. I taught for a year at Benilde-St. Margaret’s, a private school with one-to-one technology, which means every student was issued a personal laptop. This experience is really what sparked my interest in online education.

Once we moved back to Alaska, I landed a job at Goldenview Middle School, which is where I did my student teaching. I just finished my third year of teaching language arts and video announcements at Goldenview Middle School. Teaching language arts is my passion, but teaching the video announcements class is what keeps my journalistic blood flowing. I get to do stuff like this for our end-of-the-year Video Awards show:

When I’m not in the classroom, I’m hanging out with my wife and 15-month-old son, getting outside for some much-needed exercise, or doing a little bit of both. It’s difficult this time of year to get out of teacher mode, so I still find myself glued to the computer. I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a workaholic and somewhat of a perfectionist during the school year. But once late June rolls around, thoughts of the classroom are distant memories. By then my mind is hooked on hiking, fishing, camping and canoeing. Summertime to me also means baseball. Thank you, Steve Jobs, for the iPhone, which allows me to follow the Cleveland Indians and my fantasy baseball team, the Outlaw Josie Wales. Without baseball, my life is not complete.

If I had to participate in a protest, I would fly to Juneau and demand that our Alaska State Senate fully funds education. It really ticks me off that politicians use education as a bargaining chip. Education funding shouldn’t be unlimited, but cutting teachers and increasing class sizes is no way to improve student performance.

If I could change something about the world, I would do something about the way people transport themselves. Traffic drives me nuts (yes, even in Anchorage), but traffic isn’t the problem. Empty seats is the problem. I would create an app that allows people to ride share. “Going to the south side of Anchorage? Hey! Me too! Let’s carpool!” There would have to be some sort of financial incentive to pick people up. Otherwise, why would people do it?

If I could change something about myself, I would want to be more handy in the construction and design home projects. I’m awful at math, so anything that deals with measuring or visualizing a project is over my head. Thank goodness I have my father-in-law, who considers me his number one assistant. Ha!

My current presence on the web includes, which I seem to be using less and less these days. I have twitter @MisterKlott, but unless I have to use it, I hardly ever do. I also have my language arts website

All the accidents I’ve been in:

  1. My first accident was a fender bender with my mom in our station wagon. I cried and cried and cried, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.
  2. My friend hit me in the head with a golf club when I was a freshman in high school.
  3. That same year, I hit a deer (technically the deer hit me) while driving on my permit. Totaled my mom’s Toyota Previa.
  4. Two years later, I totaled my 1989 Toyota Tercel. And I had only $900 left to pay on my loan!
  5. In my 20s, I crashed my snowboard and broke my collarbone. Ouch.
  6. In my 30’s, I rear-ended a guy in Minneapolis on a busy interstate. I didn’t do any damage to his car, but I have a divot on my bumper from his hitch. One of these days I’ll get it fixed.

All the modes of transportation I’ve taken (in no particular order)

  1. Quarter Horse
  2. Draft horse
  3. Oxen
  4. Donkey
  5. Train
  6. motorcycle
  7. Car
  8. Truck
  9. Bus
  10. Airliner
  11. Cessna
  12. Bike
  13. Paraglider
  14. Rollerblades
  15. Tractor
  16. Canoe
  17. Charter boat
  18. Cruise boat
  19. Kayak
  20. Raft
  21. Catamaran
  22. Paddleboard
  23. Jet ski
  24. Float tube
  25. Feet

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