Tinsley transitions into life with technology


Michaella Namiotka

Meet the new mom and Wachusett alumni, Ms. Tinsley!

Michaella Namiotka, Staff Reporter

In the course called “Foods for Healthy Living” taught by Meghan Tinsley at the Regional, students receive grades for their cooking skills they learn in class. However, the recent COVID-19 protocols threw a curveball in the typical curriculum, forcing Tinsley to revamp her course.

I’ve had to really think outside the box this year. To create equitable opportunities for all to be able to cook, I’ve had to be flexible and creative,” said Tinsley.

Sophomore Caroline Paharik said she enjoyed Tinsley’s lessons.

“Some projects we worked on were cooking presentations that we would share with the class. I think by doing these assignments it kept everyone involved with what we were learning and we could hear everyone’s thoughts,” said Paharik. I also enjoyed the meal planning assignments. We would have a budget and certain restrictions that we would have to follow. By doing this I think it helped give us a sense of the real world and how to plan meals on a budget.” 

Junior Avery Dow said that she also enjoyed Tinsley’s positive virtual environment. 

“Mrs. Tinsley is an incredible teacher, who cares greatly about her students’ success. Without hesitation, Mrs. Tinsley was always available for additional support and assistance. Additionally, Mrs. Tinsley provided a manageable workload with engaging assignments, which made me stay focused and interested. Each class Mrs. Tinsley posted a daily question which allowed students to check in with one another, and learn more about their peers’ interests,” said Dow. “Despite the challenges of learning virtually during a difficult year, Mrs. Tinsley continued to inspire her students and provide healthy life skills.” 

Paharik agreed. 

“Mrs. Tinsley made class very enjoyable,” said Paharik. “We would join the call to see a smile on her face and her energy kept us engaged while learning virtually. She made learning from home easy to follow and planned our days out very well so I knew what to expect.”

Tinsley said the becoming a new mom during the pandemic led to challenges, but that she has been able to weave that part of her life into her teaching

“Being a mother for the first time is the greatest blessing. Being pregnant during the pandemic certainly had its challenges, from limited doctor’s visits to an unusual, virtual baby shower,” said Tinsley.  “I love that one of the classes I teach is Child Study Seminar. Being able to share stories of Aidan’s development fits right in with our curriculum, and he’s made a guest appearance or two on screen.” 

Enrolled in graduate school as well, Tinsley said she tries to balance her routine by prioritizing her social emotional needs.

“It [finding time for myself]] is an ongoing process. I find it extremely difficult to manage a bit of ‘me’ time every day. It’s important, however, for everyone to practice self-care,” said Tinsley. “For me, it means a few minutes of quiet prayer and meditation in the mornings and evenings, connecting with friends and family, maybe a little yoga or running if I have the time, getting some Vitamin D through a little nap in the sunshine and, of course, coffee.”

Tinsley said she took the initiative this past fall to help improve students’ mental health. 

“I organized a small group of instructors from the community to run mindfulness classes for students and staff through the month of December. I felt that it was the only thing I could do in my power to help the social-emotional health of our Wachusett family,” said Tinsley. “Since the beginning of it all a year ago, I’ve wanted nothing more than a return to normalcy – to be in my classroom with my students, holding classes as we typically would.”