My Favorite Teacher – A Teacher for REAL Change

Ms. Merrick wore jeans.


This might not seem like a big deal to you, but in 1980, in a small, conservative town and tight-knit school – jeans were a very big deal.


All but one of my primary school teachers were women. They all had the ‘teacher hair’ -either high on their head in beehives or buns, or cut short and styled tight like Carol Brady or Dorothy Hamill. They wore smart skirts at or past their knees and blouses with ties. Their shoes were flat or slightly and widely heeled and shined appropriately. They were either a Miss or a Mrs. and were as traditional in their teachings as in their dress.


But Ms. Merrick wore jeans. She went by ‘Ms’ and kept her blond hair down and long and sometimes even in braids. Ms. Merrick came to school one December day sobbing and didn’t stop for a week as she mourned the death of John Lennon. She took his tragic death and turned it into a lesson about The Beetles, popular music, British culture, and taking chances and doing what you love.


Ms. Merrick would let us do our math homework outside, let us bring art and knitting to class that we could do if we finished assignments – and taught us to macrame. She’d talk fashion and Shakespeare, and The Brady Bunch and Vietnam, and the Hustle and the Klan.


Ms. Merrick made learning interesting, took an interest in her students, and was the first women that I really knew who inspired me, as a women, that I could be whatever I wanted to be.

Whether I chose to wear jeans or not.


I remember hugging her tightly on the last day of sixth grade, telling her that no one had or would ever make an impact on my life like she had.


And to this day, I can still easily picture Ms. Merrick in the front on the sixth grade class with her huge smile, friendly eyes and open arms as she made us not just interested in learning and math, but in our world and what we could do to make an impact.


Ms. Merrick, for me, represented not only a wonderful, engaged, knowledgeable and inspiring teacher; but also a role model as a strong, educated women who wanted to send her students into the world with a well-rounded mind, kind heart and spirited plan.


Do you have a teacher that inspired you?

As we all know, it’s time to make a Real Change for our teachers. Did you know that 92% of teachers spend an average of $1,000 of their own money each year on school supplies for their classrooms? That totals over $1.3 billion annually.  We need to give our teachers the resources they need to thrive to give our kids the kind of classrooms and education that they deserve.


Office Depot is the proud sponsor of the Star-Studded Artists for Education TV special that airs on 4/23/2013. Check your local listings and watch exclusively online at This REAL Change special features top musical acts, highlighting the heroic role of education and teachers.


Watch the trailer and I know you will tune-in…


Office Depot cares about teachers and their challenges and understands what they need to thrive. It’s time to support our teachers. So please, I invite you to watch this very special broadcast and let’s start making a REAL Change.


Disclosure: I am an Office Depot REAL Change blog ambassador. This post is part of a campaign where I was compensated for my time. To learn more about REAL Change, visit their website.

About Tracy

My name is Tracy Morrison and I live in sunny Minnesota. I'm neither British nor a nun - I'm just a Midwesterner with a headache. This is mainly a humor and lifestyle blog that documents the lighter side of parenting. I am an ex-corporate ladder climber turned freelance writer, social media manager, and fashion expert - and ruler of my own little universe(very small). Aren't we all. I would love for you to contact me at

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  1. says

    She sounds wonderful. Teachers can be such powerful change factors – one person can affect so many, and make such an impact in young lives.
    Alison recently posted..Scars

  2. says

    I was just having a conversation the other day with my dad about how just one teacher can change a child’s life and inspire him/her to follow a certain path. My dad credits a science teacher he had in high school for leading him down a path towards med school. I was saying to him that I hope each of my kids encounters a teacher who will inspire them to follow a dream.
    Emily recently posted..A Trip To The Vet And The Credit Card Bill To Prove It

  3. says

    In grade/high School my teacher for Change was Sister Holly who wore tight skirts and refused the Whipple, then in college, Janet Wrightnour (she always told me to call her Janet) and Jane Honchell (Jane of course) and Nancy Merryman (who still cries when she sees pictures of my babies because she fought infertility too, in Africa while she was with the Peace Corp.

    I know that you’ve had women in your life like them becuase you are a woman that has had incredible women come before you, I can tell. With every word, with every hug, through every story you tell…I see the ladies who taught you how to be one.

    Kir recently posted..That’s Not How I Remember It {The Path You Choose: Bree}

  4. Jen says

    And I think Ms. Merrick sounds totally awesome and inspiring. She’s the kind of teacher and woman who inspires ME to be a creative teacher, one who tries to instill the value of CREATIVITY and the ARTS in her students along with teaching them how to read, write, and communicate effectively. The hard thing is that creativity is being pushed out of the curriculum by the incessant need to spend countless hours preparing students for a state test and for them to “meet the common core”, forget about educating the whole child. It’s tough. Anything parents can do to push for less emphasis on testing, please do it.

  5. says

    My favorite teacher was Ms. McCue, she taught me high school creative writing and she’s why I majored in creative writing. She was an amazing teacher and I wish there was some way I could find her and tell her how much she meant to me!
    Marta recently posted..When is Too Much, Enough?

  6. says

    Ms. Hammil accepted everyone for who they were. She loved every student. I don’t remember anyone acting up in the forth grade. She read books that made us cry, and she did relaxation exercises with us. She read what I wrote and gave me legitimate feedback. From her I learned how important the little things in writing can be. How a story about trying to find a way to make myself eat an unwanted meal could be just as engaging as the one about the knight and the fairies.
    Ms. Hammil, who never smoked a day in her life, died, almost a year ago, of lung cancer. I still cry.
    Duffy recently posted..Karen’s Top Ten

  7. says

    Hi, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!
    Victor recently posted..Victor

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