Definitely going to do this next year, thank you @TechNinjaTodd at nesoloneyflipped.blogspot --
"Guys Lunch" Just me and the fellas, having lunch together away from all the girls and their drama (definitely leaving that to better teachers/humans than I) and getting the chance to talk about what it means to be a friend, a brother, a teammate, a young man.
My current school has very few sports minded students, very few athletes, which as a youth sports coach and PE teacher dismays me to no end. But the ones that have played sports, the few football players especially, definitely come from a different cultural background than 99% of their classmates. Most obviously they're African-American not Filipino-American, so unfortunately it's very easy to lump them all together (and I mean very easy: I could thunk each one with a different digit and still have fingers left over), especially when there's trouble on the basketball court or ball wall. But where others see "those black kids" I see "my athletes" and know the problem probably has everything to do with competition, skills, and the priorities their families have taught them.
It's funny how in one conversation we as teachers bemoan our American lack of fitness, the utter slothfulness of children today, but in another complain about the energy ("wildness") and drive ("disruptive") of certain students. These are the kids who, unlike their parent-coddled Playstation-addicted peers, are up and active after school. Yes, a lot of that is unsupervised, absent parent, directionless, but that's the point -- they're looking for something to do, usually out in the neighborhood. Yes, some of that involves trouble, getting into it or trying to avoid it. These are children who are not brought things but told to go get it yourself. These are boys (and one girl) raised on watching sports from Dad's lap and signed up for a team as soon as possible, often within the context of This is the only way to make it out.
So lunch is with* me, boys. We'll talk about what bugs you, what you want from school and life, what you want to fix or change and how you can do it, what kind of friend/father/man you want to be. And we'll probably also find some time to discuss the real important issues, such as can the Heat 3-peat and will the Chargers ever, ever win the Super Bowl?
* Not "on" I'm only a poor teacher...