Teacher in Focus: Merry Nickelson
by Celia Shortt
Merry Nickelson teaches first grade at Willis Road Elementary School. This year is her fourteenth of teaching.
Why did you become a teacher?
It’s been something I’ve wanted to do since I was a young child. I’m a teacher at Willis Road Elementary. It’s the best school ever, and I don’t do anything by myself. It’s totally a team effort. Teachers genuinely focus on their students all day. It’s all about the kids all day.
How long have you been teaching?
For 14 years. I taught in Clayton County for a year and a half. Then I was home for 10 years with my kids.
Do you have a family?
Yes. I’ve been married for almost 30 years, and I have a daughter and a son.
What do you do when you’re not teaching?
I try to work out several times a week. I’m a nerd at heart, and I read alot. Reading is the most fun. I catch up on news and the politics of the day.
What does a day of teaching consist of you for you?
I teach kids to read, mold character, be mom - those are the big things, and it is a huge responsibility. Like all teachers, I take it very seriously. That is what teachers do. For me, it’s not a job. It’s a commitment to the little ones who have been entrusted to me for the year.
If not a teacher, what would you be?
I don’t know. It’s something I’ve poured myself into for so many years. I don’t know what else I’d do.
What is the one thing you want to impart to your students?
To work very hard. I want my students to have confidence in themselves. To know that I love them - that somebody loves them.
What is your favorite part of being at Willis Road Elementary School?
The support, not only professionally, but personally. My best friends are here. We’re just a family. You are never by yourself.