At times school spirit can be a fickle thing; once the school year is underway it can be hard to increase or improve upon. Fostering school spirit is much more than what activities you plan, or how engaged your students are. School spirit is made animate through character, culture, community, and sense of belonging.
Believe it or not, the single most effective way to foster school spirit lies somewhere between inclusivity and exclusivity. Sounds crazy right? Students want to know that their school is different because it is! Their school has fun quirks, unique events and traditions that other schools don’t. These distinctions are what makes a school unique and provides a sense of pride to its community. That’s where the exclusivity comes in. School character and culture will separate students from the generalization of the other schools in their state and instead create a bond between them and their peers.
How do educators make this possible? How do you build school culture that students will respond to? Well we can start by creating an event, a club, a spirit day, a field trip, that a fellow teacher or student from another school would beg the reaction “That’s so cool, I wish we had something like that”.
Check out some of our tips to create long lasting, popular, culture building ideas.
- It doesn’t have to be simple, some students thrive on intricate story lines or games only because they build new connections within them. Consider having an unconventional sports day (crocket, bocce ball, etc) and keep an online scoreboard for students to check throughout the whole day.
- It can be silly. Students love to be asked to do random things they would never expect an educator to ask them. Have your football team dress up in ridiculous costumes and post photos on Minga the day before the big game for “luck”, when really it’s promoting student turnout in person and on Minga. This is super easy and has the potential to become a tradition.
- It doesn’t have to be original but it HAS to be interesting. Generation Z stands apart from previous generations due to their passionate desire to express their individuality. If your students have seen it done before too many times they will not bite. Throw an event that will WOW, because an event that is intriguing or unique will tap into the most influential students and gain so much traction.
- Be brave. Minga is partnered with many schools across North America but Kelowna Secondary School asks their students every year to pledge their hair away to cancer. This means each student willing to participate sets a $ budget, and if that budget is reached in donations from their peers, their head will be shaved in front of the entire school. It is traditions like these that enable community growth, and can be planned, advertised, and measured, through Minga.
- Don’t be afraid of technology! When it comes to tech, students are fast learners, they appreciate the instantaneous stimulation, and feel comfortable on their phones. When curious about student consensus, don’t be afraid to send out a school wide poll on Minga using the click of a button. Try a social media photo challenge where students can upload pictures of themselves on spirit days to win prizes.
- Lastly, get excited and show it. If you want your students to be filled with energy, roaring for their school and participating in every event you need to set the bar and create that standard of spirit. Lack of teacher participation leads to lack of student participation.
Minga urges every school to try something new and work on their community, culture, spirit, and character because these factors create a sense of belonging, and students need that today more than ever. Give your kids something to believe in.