Why having a mascot makes a “Big Impact”

What if Bigfoot is real?  I know, I know. Stay with me here.  For years I have used Bigfoot as a symbol of my philosophy on life: We don’t know everything.  Thank goodness! How boring would life be if there was nothing left to discover? How awesome it is to be wrong sometimes.  How fun it is to believe there is something mysterious to discover.

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I did my college exhibition on Bigfoot upon completion of my coursework to earn my degree in elementary education.  I loved how symbolic and outside the norm this idea was.  I dressed up in Sasquatch hunting gear and put together a slideshow (which didn’t work) to demonstrate how passionate some people can be about hunting for Bigfoot.  I likened it to teaching in that I wanted to make a “big” impact on the lives of my students, and inspire them to do the same for others.  I wanted them to feel a sense of adventure in my class, and to provide “evidence” of their learning along the way.  Finally, I explained how scientist are still discovering thousands, yes, thousands, of new species each year!

Now, in my fourth year of teaching, having Bigfoot as a mascot in my classroom each year has provided just what I was hoping it would, and then some.  My students feel that they belong to a group that is represented by a mysterious, maybe not so mythical, creature.  It has helped create community, but also has inspired them to believe that there is still so much to discover in the world, and beyond.  And, its fun.  Learning is fun.  I hope we all can remember or discover for the first time how fun it is to learn.  This is why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place, because I am a learner.  I need to learn in order to thrive.

I guess I hope that no one ever truly discovers a Bigfoot.  How awful that would be to end this hunt.  To conquer a mystery is exciting, but short lived. In my heart, I am not a true Bigfoot believer. I just really like the idea of it, in the same way that I love the idea of Santa and magic and not knowing everything.  I hope Bigfoot is real, but I really hope we never find out.

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