The Ballard Talisman

Beloved chemistry teacher retires after 14 years

The easiest day in chemistry was yesterday, but the saddest will be his last day

Dr.+Dewey+Moody+holds+a+puppet+doppelg%C3%A4nger+gifted+to+him+by+a+former+student.+He+is+retiring+after+a+14+year+teaching+career.
Dr. Dewey Moody holds a puppet doppelgänger gifted to him by a former student. He is retiring after a 14 year teaching career.

Dr. Dewey Moody holds a puppet doppelgänger gifted to him by a former student. He is retiring after a 14 year teaching career.

Dr. Dewey Moody holds a puppet doppelgänger gifted to him by a former student. He is retiring after a 14 year teaching career.

Mitra Shafii, Staff Reporter

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Dr. Dewey Moody has been teaching General Chemistry and Biotech Chemistry for 14 years, and AP Chemistry for 10 years. Before becoming a teacher, he worked in business development and biotechnology. He got laid off in 2000 when he got a new boss who wanted to pick his own team. “Being attached to a corporate office is a high risk endeavor, and that just wasn’t appealing anymore,” Dr. Moody said. He chose to teach high school because of its reliability and benefits.

 

Commitment to students

Chemistry is a notoriously difficult subject, but Dr. Moody makes it bearable. He understands how overwhelming chemistry can be, so he does everything he can to ease the stress, from putting memes and funny videos into his PowerPoints, to spending his afternoons working one-on-one with students until they’re confident on the material. “That phrase ‘Oh I get it!’ that’s my favorite thing. That’s a narcotic for most teachers. It keeps us in the business,” Dr. Moody said.

He isn’t the type of teacher who makes a lesson plan their first year teaching and calls it good. “Designing the perfect lesson is what I’ll miss the most. That was always a challenge,” Dr. Moody said. He constantly takes note of what works well and what doesn’t and then tweaks the lesson for the next year until it’s perfect. “Students are tired. They don’t get enough sleep. If you don’t make your class exciting, they will nod off because they’re physically exhausted.”

 

Student testimonials

Junior Meghan Sheldrake took AP Chemistry when she was a sophomore. “His class pushed me harder than any science class had pushed me before, which I really enjoyed,” Sheldrake said. “Every time I asked Moody a question he kept explaining it until I understood it fully.”

Junior Parker Crotty had Dr. Moody for General Chemistry. She tried to take AP Chemistry, but there wasn’t enough room because so many people signed up to have Dr. Moody before he leaves. “He’s the best teacher I’ve ever had. He inspired me to major in chemistry,” Crotty said.

 

Washingtonian of the Day

At the academic spirit week assembly in March, Dr. Moody was presented with the Washingtonian of the Day award by Governor Jay Inslee. “We have some educators that rise above and truly inspire students, who lift students up, who bring a certain passion and connection that is unique,” Inslee said. Dr. Moody is still shocked that he received this remarkable honor and describes it as his proudest moment as a teacher. “The entire student body seemed to know who the hell I was. I’m very certain I haven’t taught all those kids and and they all seemed to know me and clap. What is this all about? How did this happen? It’s just me. Little old me,” Dr. Moody said.

 

Timothy Stedman is another chemistry teacher. After Dr. Moody leaves, he will teach AP Chemistry. Everyone who has had either Dr. Moody or Stedman as a teacher knows how close they are. They’ve been friends for 14 years. Their classrooms are connected by the chemistry lab and they even wear matching Halloween costumes. “Describing him is complicated,” Stedman said. “He’s passionate, he’s brilliant, he’s inspired. He cares so deeply for his students that sometimes it drives him mad. He represents this deep wealth of institutional knowledge. It’s going to be very different and challenging without him here.”

“He has been a mentor to me,” Stedman said. “He has been so generous and helpful to me as a teacher that I owe him this immeasurable debt of gratitude. I’ve been really fortunate these past several years to work so closely with someone who I admire so much and get along with so well. I will miss everything about having him here. I’ll miss having a friend I can talk to everyday and confide in. I hope I find a way to express to him how grateful I am to have worked with him.”

 

Retirement plans

Dr. Moody is excited for retirement. In 2017, he had a heart blockage that had to be fixed with a catheter. “It was a reminder that this is not a practice for a life to come, it is the only life I am going to have,” Dr. Moody said. “You want to go out on a high note. Not when they’re saying ‘Geez, he should retire.’ I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to be that person.” After he retires, he plans to travel and garden with his wife until about three o’clock when they have their daily martini.

Despite the tough exterior he presents, he’s a big softie who cares deeply for his students. This school is extremely fortunate to have had a teacher as brilliant and talented as Dr. Moody. He wants to retire on a high note, and he certainly is.

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Beloved chemistry teacher retires after 14 years