In this blog post we recognize one of our outstanding Apex Learning Virtual School teachers in celebration of Teacher Appreciation Week. If there’s one thing David Cicoletti has known all his life, it’s that he feels most alive when he’s in the wilderness. From a young age, he knew that he wanted to pursue a career in the outdoors, and his ultimate goal was to move to Yosemite, California. When he graduated from the University of California, Berkley in 1991, he fulfilled that dream and began teaching outdoor classes for students all over California. “I started working for an outdoor school, taking students out for a few days at a time to learn about natural history, geology, science, and Native American studies,” he said. “I knew I would love being in the natural elements all day, but I was surprised by how much I also enjoyed teaching.” Mr. Cicoletti never expected to pursue teaching as a profession, but after these first experiences, he decided to start teaching part-time. He went back to school to get his English teaching certificate and moved to a small town just outside of Yosemite where he began teaching Language Arts in the local public schools and eventually English Composition and Creative Writing at Fresno City College. “While I was teaching English in the classroom, I was asked to put together online Advanced Placement programs for a new technology-based high school program,” he said. “Through that experience, I realized that I really liked the process of designing curriculum and instruction.” That’s when Mr. Cicoletti discovered Apex Learning Virtual School and began his career as an online English instructor in 2013. “I have been teaching continuously for 25 years now, and I’m still amazed by the improvisation of it,” he said. “I can have a lesson all planned out, but what’s really interesting to me is the impromptu learning that takes place. That’s the magic of teaching. I find that I learn just as much, maybe even more, from the students as they might learn from me. Being in contact with young people who are full of dynamic, creative energy is fascinating. Hearing their critical thoughts, experiences and how they view the world, can be very inspiring.” He believes online learning is like anything else. You get out of it, what you put into it. “Online learning can be as lively and dynamic as you want it to be,” he said. “It might surprise you— the connections you can make. I try to remember that there are real people on the other side of my keyboard who make the interactions and the curriculum exciting.” One of the reasons Mr. Cicoletti really enjoys teaching at ALVS is because he values the curriculum. “The ALVS English curriculum is really well put together by people who thoroughly understand English composition and critical thinking. I feel really good about what we are asking our students to read, the questions we present to them, and the rigor of the content.” When Mr. Cicoletti is not teaching English, he enjoys spending time with family, going on outdoor adventures, and playing the mandolin and guitar.