Teacher Spotlight on Mrs. Tinsley

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Mrs. Tinsley is the sponsor of Dumbledore’s Army and a science teacher at Battle High.

Cora Mitchell, Writer

Fear, nervousness, and excitement. A teacher goes through a lot in a day, constantly thinking of ways for her students to understand the lesson better. Mrs. Rachel Tinsley has been through the ups and downs of being an Honors Biology, AP Biology, and Zoology teacher, as well as being the main sponsor of the Dumbledore’s Army Club. She’s “pleased as punch” to allow us into her daily life.

As a former teacher at Hickman High School in Columbia, Tinsley has plenty of experience teaching. Dr. Phillip Popham, a fellow Honors Biology teacher in the building that has known Tinsley for 10 years, says that he believes Tinsley has lots of experience teaching.

“You can’t go wrong with the biology teachers here [at Battle],” Popham says.

Tinsley went to Southeast Missouri State for her science degree and to Columbia College for her teaching degree. Tinsley said she majored in pre-med at first, but then realized how depressing it would be to be around sick people all the time. After helping her classmates study, she realized she wanted to be a teacher.

Tinsley calls her teaching style “structured, but adaptive.” She always has a general, organized way of displaying and presenting information, but allows slight ways of deviation for the students depending on how the lesson is going.

One of her students Courtney Smith says that Tinsley’s style is simple: “She explains what we’re doing to where we can understand it, and says the assignment and either she’ll help us as we’re doing it as a class or she lets us off to do it on our own.” Smith also says that Tinsley involves the students in her class plans and is available to help.

Tinsley has many memories of teaching, but one of her more profound memories made her feel accomplished: she remembers a student she once taught at Hickman. He received C’s, had a basic understanding of biology, and never really thought he’d be pursuing science.

Years later, the former student, at this point graduating from the University of Missouri with a scholarship to Cornell University to study plant pathology, reunited with Tinsley. He told her that when he walked onto Mizzou campus with his knowledge of biology from her, he felt that he belonged. Tinsley said, “I felt like I did a good job.”

Tinsley also develops meaningful relationships with students through her active sponsorship of the Harry Potter club at BHS. Tinsley’s proud Dumbledore’s Army had humble beginnings. One of her colleague’s daughters decided to create the club at Hickman, and decided not to be involved, but liked the idea. Her colleagues encouraged her to come to the meeting and be a part of the DA Leadership. After she went to the first meeting, she fell in love with it.

Before Battle High School was built, the clubs to be sponsored were being decided. Tinsley called “dibs” on sponsoring DA at Battle, and made it into a nicely populated club of 36 members, complete with chivalrous Gryffindors, intelligent Ravenclaws, loyal Hufflepuffs, and clever Slytherins.

Scientist, sorceress, colleague, friend, Battle High School cannot bear to be without Mrs. Tinsley.