Dave Moyer retires after teaching nearly 30 years at NWL
As students wrapped up another school year, science teacher David Moyer was wrapping up a 28-year career of teaching science at Northwestern Lehigh.
“When I first moved into this room I had all brand-new equipment,” he said looking around for one of the last times. “We made candy canes in the lab but they were all white.
“I did the firefighting lab and those were sort of a culmination of the course.
“We would go outside and set fire to diesel fuel in the ball field.
“The company that supplies our fire extinguishers would donate some 20 fire extinguishers for the demonstration.”
Moyer said he copied the training he had as an engineer.
“The fire company would come and review [our procedures] prior to the firefighting lab,” Moyer said. “I had competent people review what I was doing.”
Just before closing up shop, Moyer admitted to doing his “molecule dance.”
Moyer went as far as dressing up as Antoine Lavoisier to deliver topics in the curriculum.
“It’s OK [students thought] I’m a nut, as long as they understand chemistry,” Moyer said. “I [used] a lot of analogies to communicate ideas.
“I tried to have enough enthusiasm for the subject and build the bridges between what [students] know and what they need to know.”
For Moyer, performance was teaching and trying to get students excited about the subjects.
“But what I really want them to be is problem solvers,” he said.
Looking back, Moyer said he evolved over the years.
“When I started I barely knew more than the kids,” he explained. “I had to go back and relearn a lot. I decided to get a Master’s at DeSales where I was forced to take chemistry courses. I had a lot of physics.”
Ultimately, Moyer earned a Master’s of Education degree in chemistry.
“I discovered that a teacher yells when you don’t know what to do,” he said. “I try to be very real with my students and they [were] really accepting of that. I tried to be real and enthusiastic.
“I actually had an offer to go to Nazareth and State College High School, but I chose to stay.
“The full benefits made it possible. I could not have done this without it.”
Teaching has been a meaningful profession for the engineer turned teacher.
“I love what I do,” he said. “I’m very passionate about what I do, and I try to transmit that to my students.
“If you transmit [that excitement] it’s contagious. I [tried] to get them to think about things.”
Moyer’s faith is one of the most significant forces in his life, including his professional life.
“I was half time for two years [and later], 83 percent part time, but I didn’t have to ask anyone for money,” Moyer said. “I used up a lot of savings [but] God was very good to us.”
Before teaching, Moyer was a nuclear engineer.
“The average workweek was 60 hours. I wanted to serve the Lord in a more full-time way.”
Moyer arrived at his decision following the will of God.
“That voice said you had a lot of options,” Moyer said. “When I stumbled upon teaching, my wife was really positive about it.
“I prayed about it and I said I believe this is what God wants me to do, so God took care of me.”
All these years later, Moyer said he had no regrets especially after his wife Donna died.
“I was so well supported,” Moyer said. “I’m thankful that I had the opportunity to teach and share my life with students.”
Moyer pioneered a “flip class” at the high school.
“Students would watch lectures at home, then come to class for lab work and to do problems.”
He had mixed feeling about this style of teaching.
“I liked that [students] could help each other, but I lost the ability to share with them and connect experience and ideas to the topic of chemistry.”
He also was instrumental in establishing a competitive science team that participated successfully in the Science Olympiad. Even with his retirement he will continue to work as a national event supervisor for hovercraft.
As he leaves Northwestern, Moyer will take up another path.
“I’m going to seminary,” he said. “I have one last step to go before being accepted. I need an interview.”
Moyer would like to attend Capital Seminary at Lancaster Bible College.
“The semester is divided into a six-week period,” he explained. “I have to be on campus two times a semester and all the rest of [my study] will be online.”
He and his new wife are also relocating.
“We’re planning to move somewhere between Ephrata and Morgantown,” he said, “Though I have real mixed feelings, it was a realization I came to after Donna died. It’s best to move on.”