That's what he'd wanted even 30 years ago, when he was in college the first time around. Back then, he'd been deterred by the poor pay teachers get, and the prospect of raising his young family on that salary.
This time around, though, he couldn't be swayed: his two children were grown and self-sufficient, and he couldn't stand the thought of returning to a chemical plant in lieu of doing a job that interested him. So he went back to school to learn to be a teacher.
Moss got his first teaching job soon after graduating, at Cedar Grove Elementary. But when an opportunity cropped up at Horace Mann he jumped at it -- despite the school's reputation for behavior issues and poor academic performance, a tough gig for a new teacher.
"I live on the West Side, my kids were raised on the West Side," he said. "You hear so much negative about it, but I tell you my kids went to these schools and the teachers work hard over here. They work hard because they have to and because they really care."
By all accounts, he's a good fit at the school -- his wife, Cindy, said he acts as a father figure for many of the school's students who don't have one at home. And Mellow Lee, principal at Mary C. Snow, said he's "a really good role model for our students.
"He's so patient and he's kind -- nothing ruffles his feathers," she said. "He works with every kid and looks at every kid like he has potential."
It's that kind of work ethic and caring that Moss so admired in his first teacher in that one-room schoolhouse, and those are the same qualities he hopes to cultivate in himself.
"This is more work, I think," Moss said. "But I think I can help them now, before they grow up and make really bad choices, so they can avoid that."
He's only a few weeks into his first year with a second-grade classroom, but the students seem to be responding to this approach so far. Cindy said she's seen small children run up to him on the street just to give him a hug.
"It's even the little boys who usually wouldn't hug someone in public," she said. "He has this way about him where he doesn't have to raise his voice a lot, but he gets the respect because he cares."
@tagline:Contact writer Shay Maunz at shay.ma...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4886.