“The art of war,” Shooting Star Barbera 2016


Tonight I taught my master’s class at the Joslyn, and it was wonderful. I won’t go into great detail, but I will say that I’m always so impressed by what my students do when I tell them that something isn’t graded, and just to be creative. Given a long leash, free reign even, I believe all learners can do amazing things — and will under the right circumstances. To me it more than justifies the rant I went on against the ACT with my seniors today, and makes me question our test-driven system of education. Our system murders creativity, intellect, critical thinking skills, and the joy of discovery. I’m here to save those things — and I’m not alone. There are legions of teachers across the country doing everything we can think of to inspire young people to want to learn, to believe in themselves, and not to relegate their intellect to a singular datapoint taken in a snapshot of time. Perhaps one day soon we will stop putting people in charge of education whose only connection to it is having once been educated. Until that day, well, I’m pretty comfortable fighting a guerrilla war.

My students ran amuck in the art museum tonight, and they didsawlearnedsharedbreathedwonderedandcomposeddisovered some truly amazing things…

Afterward, I had them all over to my house for tacos. You know my tacos if you read this blog more than sporadically — I owe my ability to make them to Mike Farmer, the winemaker in Napa. They’re excellent, if I may be so immodest. And of course, as always, I paired them with wine.


A magnum of Jed Steele’s Shooting Star Barbera 2016 from Lake County was just the perfect wine for our crew of teachers.  Bold like a Cabernet Sauvignon, with a wonderful combination of bright fruits and darker, richer, deeper ones, I got lots of blackberry, cranberry, and more upon this wine. Hints of oak abound, as well as chocolate and some spices, adding depth and complexity. In all, this is a truly satisfying wine, a fun combination of a classic old world varietal made by an excellent new world winemaker from grapes grown in Lake County, California. It is a work of art, and as such was the perfect thing to end our evening on. It paired well with discussion.

As we noshed on tacos, Mexican rice, and black beans, we raised a glass to our profession and to all that we have yet to do. My students are teachers, and all teachers are students. There will come a day when data can stop being a four-letter word and be instead something meaningful again, and there will come a day when tests are not the end game. Until that time, well, I always thought I looked rather dashing in camouflage.

Cheers to art, and to the battles we’ve yet to win,


2 responses to ““The art of war,” Shooting Star Barbera 2016

  1. My rents and so many family friends were teachers, and I considered the same for a time. They would all agree with you 100% on shaping/freeing young minds…and hopefully on the vino too. Keep pushing!

    Liked by 1 person

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