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Lessons from the Incubator: Teaching with Tortoises

Incubators: they’re not just for chickens…they’re also for tortoises (and myriad other non-fluffy, reptilian creatures).

If you’re expecting a chicken, but out pops a tortoise, you’re going to have to shift your plan and expectations accordingly. At TGS, we are continually shifting our expectations to meet the needs of our students – one of whom, coincidentally, has a special interest in tortoises. In order to continue building trust and rapport with this student, a member of our counseling support staff invited him to bring his tortoise to school. Together, they created a short film, TortQuest! Watch a 7-second snippet here: TortQuest Movie Clip.

In addition to building rapport, the filming of TortQuest fulfilled a World Geography assignment on Chinese culture. The tortoise “quest” illustrated a saying of Confucius, “It doesn’t matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”

Working in an incubator, we may experience longer-than-desired periods of slow, even unobservable growth. We recognize that lasting change takes time, and begins with internal processes we may not immediately see. But over time, as long as we do not stop, we make progress. In our next post, “Out of the Incubator, Into the World,” we’ll see a snapshot of one TGS graduate’s progress.

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