Friday, December 26, 2003

Oh, by the way, I've decided to let my no-luck-southern-former-fishing-buddy, Mark Gstohl, be my friend again. Won't he be surprised with such a great Christmas gift!
Christmas went well. Santa was great to the kids, but once again I got stiffed by Senior Kringle. I'm back at work today, adding captions to the images in the atlas. I'm working on the divided monarchy at the moment. Tomorrow I'm stuck in the kitchen pretty much all day cooking turducken and frying turkeys. Then football and family, and I should be back at work Monday. I've been giving much thought to a class I have coming up about Prophets and Prophecy. I'm trying to find ways to get the students to learn by action, or putting things into practice outside of the classroom. I still need to further refine it.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Well, my muse is sort of back, but it didn't take the form of a fish.

Despite my expectations of catching copious amounts of redfish and trout with my colleague and former friend Mark Gstohl, it turns out that he, as they say in the South, "has more bad luck than a possum at a possum eating hoohaahaa."

I place the lack of caught fish squarely upon his broad Southern shoulders. I did get to see a beautiful part of Louisiana via boat though, and watched some porpoises up close, along with raccoons and nutria, all of which it turns out are "good eatin" in the South. Anyway, I've been able to write a bit better after that adventure. Today I finished the book reviews and will start on the atlas tomorrow, and as they say in the South, "Three ducks ain't a quackle make feller." But in the end, the day fishing was so disappointing, especially the things I witnessed concerning Mark. When he wasn't delaying the outing by casting his hook and bait into the shore's foliage, he would just sort of stand there with a dazed look in his eyes rather than fish. I had to remind him more than once that when his bobber went underwater it meant a fish was biting the bait. Moreover, I noticed on several occasions that he appeared to be crying, though that could have been because he is a southern boy facing arctic winds from a boat. He did bring sandwiches though. As they say in the South, "Shhhhhhhuuuuuuucccccckkkkkks, whoooooooo caaaaaaaaaaannnnnn dooooooo aaaaanyyyyy bettttttterrrrrr daaaaaan' daaaaaaaatttttt????"

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Still suffering from writer's block, I thought I'd take a moment and talk about
how today, December 18, 2003 changed the world. For today is
the day that


is going legit. My lanky friend Bart Everson who bicycles even though he suffers
from cold hands works at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching here at
Xavier, and this place is way better because of his presence. He's sort of an
artist who works with computers. Anyway, today, even as I write this, he is
moving the website from CAT's server at to the
new and bibliscious URL
How cool is that? We've got a lot more work to do on the site, as we're not
even halfway done. But I think it will be an excellent teaching tool. We shall
see. In some ways it is frustrating as in the end I'll put way more effort into
this website than I would into a book, and it will reach so many more people,
yet I'm sure academia would give more credit to a book. I applied for early
promotion this year at Xavier, trying to get the rank of Associate Professor.
I'll let you know if this website matters at all in this process, but I think
my books will carry more weight. I think 20 years from now the system will be
different, but so much about academia is antiquated. Anyway, great day for me
and the world. Thanks Bart!

I have writer's block, and I've got it bad. I need to finish two book reviews today and get those shipped off to "Archaeology Odyssey." They're both pretty good books, but I especially enjoyed William Stiebing's Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture. He did a great job of showing how historians and archaeologists are like detectives who try and form theories from quite fragmentary evidence.

Then, if and when I finish this, I've got so much to do with the atlas. I really need to get the text finished and off to the editor before Christmas break is over, just a couple of weeks from now. But while the book reviews are close to being done, I can't seem to crank out the final formatting. I desperately need a muse. This might take the form of a redfish, as my colleague and friend Mark Gstohl and I are going fishing tomorrow. I've wanted to do this for a very long time and have never gotten around to it. We have a guide, and it not only be expensive but very cold. Being on the water in a boat in 40 degree weather will be challenging. Good thing I'm fat. I knew there was a reason I was overweight. Even if we don't catch anything I know tomorrow will be a memorable day. This will be because of fish, boats, beer, and this "Good Ol' Boy" Southern thing I find so amusing.
If anyone else knows how to break my writer's block, feel free to email me at My block is so bad I spent the day searching for Mr. Poppy's/Al Copeland's address as he is supposed to have some great Christmas decorations. I finally found it, but it took a couple of hours. Think how productive I could have been before the internet took off.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

I'm back from the retreat, and feel it was a real success. The theology department tackled some pretty difficult issues related to our program, and had a nice time interacting with everyone's families. I returned to find several students already complaining about grades. I think they found them posted on Banner Web. Some have even said if I don't raise their grades from a C to a B they will lose their scholarships. As hard as it is for me to do so, I have a policy that won't raise grades in such a fashion. One student has a 77, but I still can't give her a B. I suspect most teachers would here at Xavier, or so many students probably wouldn't ask. I would feel much better if we had pluses and minuses, so she could get a B minus or a C plus, grades that more accurately reflect her performance. But instead here at Xavier a 71 and a 79 (which by the way are very different student performances) both get a grade of C on their transcripts. It's a shame. Though it continues to trouble me deeply, and I feel bad for the student, as I get more experienced I don't feel as bad as I once would have. If she was so worried about her scholarship she should have studied more and scored better than a high 50s on the final exam. But in the end I still feel bad.

Friday, December 12, 2003

We're about ready to get in the car and drive to Gulf Shores Alabama for a Theology Department retreat. I think it will be very productive, in that we're meeting frequently tomorrow. We are trying to decide what we want to do as a department. I very much like my colleagues in the department. Personally I feel sort of at a crossroads in my life academically. Being at Xavier University of Louisiana it is hard to have the support necessary to be a first rate Bible scholar. So much time is necessary for teaching, and committee work, etc. I sort of imagined even up until a few months ago that I would be at Xavier for about 10 years and then move on to a first rate research institution with doctoral students, a huge budget, and loads of release time and other means of support that would enable me to keep publishing. Though at this point in my career I've published much more than others I know, I feel that if I stay at Xavier my publication rate will drop dramatically (which it has already the past year and a half). So lately I've been thinking maybe there is more to life than an obsession with publishing. Maybe my calling has to do more with teaching. I'll explore this at the meeting this weekend and reflect on this. Maybe my talents would best serve the world by staying at Xavier and sacrificing my personal goals such as major publications and being one of the premiere Bible scholas, but I would positively effect many more lives. I think I'll explore this with my colleagues, but my broad goals are three: 1. To make the world a better place, 2. To have students learn about the world especially by bringing them with me to the Middle East and participating in archaeological excavations, and 3. To have the students think locally. There is so much that is attractive about New Orleans, and at times I feel like Xavier being Catholic trys to emphasize that even though they are in New Orleans, they are not part of all the negative aspects associated with this city. I was glad when the homepage of XU put "at home in New Orleans" with a link to But I want to further this, and have students learn about the New Orleans heritage, maybe even examine Mardi Gras in depth. Not the tourist stuff, but more the local traditions. Anyway, gotta run. The family just walked in the door.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Finally I've had some seconds to clear my desk and not yet relax, as I've been at meetings all day, but I've just finished my grades. I'm overall pretty happy with the websites. I've been thinking about replacing blackboard quizzes with blogging. I'll have to think about that some more.

Saturday, December 06, 2003

It nearly killed me, but yesterday evening I finished the student websites. There are 10 in all, and some are quite good. They can be seen at this page. Just click one of the logos. They took so much of my time, especially at the end. If I do this project again I think I'll put in required progress checks earlier in the semester. The project required that each group pick a passage in the Torah, and then individually they would research critical methods and apply them to the passage. Glad it's over, and now on to grading.

Sunday, November 30, 2003

Last week I was attended two national conferences in Atlanta: The American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). I presented a paper at ASOR on the ways that archaeology and archaeologists are presented in the cinematic arts. My presentation was in Keynote and included several quicktime movies. While it wasn't meant to be the most erudite of papers, it was very entertaining and informative, and several people afterwards commented that it was their favorite paper that year at ASOR, and about 20 people asked for copies to show to their students. I put a great deal of time into that presentation, and it was gratifying to have others comment positively. A few hours after that presentation, I was awarded the Frank Cross award by ASOR. The award is "presented to the editor/author of
the most substantial volume(s) related to ancient Near Eastern and eastern Mediterranean epigraphy, text and/or tradition. This work must be the result of original research published during the past two years."

My friend and advisor Tom Levy gave me the award, and to be honored like that by my colleagues was the real high point in my academic career thus far. All in all it was a great conference. Now I've just got a couple of days before final exams. I've got to finish the student websites for THeo 2001 and create two final exams. I finished grading my Theology 1120 papers in which students applied a critical method to a biblical passage. They were OK papers, but the real highlight was that only one student plagiarized, and this was only slightly. This has been such a severe problem in the past, maybe word is out that I check on the web for this. Anyway, back to the grindstone.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Today I feel exhausted. I feel like my body is a battleground between forces of evil and good. Right now the evil parts are winning, and I feel like a bad cold is coming on, and can't really afford the time to be sick. Today I also heard that my book To Your Tents O Israel won an award from the American Schools of Oriental Research. That was great news. I find out more about this soon.

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Yesterday a student complemented me saying I was the most animated and interesting teacher that he had. In my classes I really try to convey the enthusiasm I have for the subject, and I'm glad he noticed and voiced his opinion. Of course he is right. I am probably the best teacher ever.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Time seems to be one of the major issues confronting the use of technology. That and money I guess. But back to time . . . It used to be I'd sit in my office alone and work work work and work some more. Now not only do I meet with students during office hours, but also it seems like a half hour doesn't pass without some interuption. Mostly students visit my office to talk about their website projects, but also they have problems with blackboard quizzes or something else. I thoroughly enjoy the one on one contact with the students. They're full of life, bright, and the world is their oyster (or as they say here "urster"), it just takes away time that I used to use to write books and work on more academic things.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Today I'm sitting in my office working on a keynote lecture I'll be giving later in the day, and a student introduces herself. She is a 5th year senior, majoring in Chemistry, and she tells me she is taking both her upper and lower division theology courses with me next semester so she can graduate. Here at Xavier students must take an upper and lower division theology course as part of the core requirements. Anyway, she tells me she is nervous because there will be papers to write for my courses and she has never written a paper. This shocked me, and we spoke for a while, and she was as amazed about this as I was. I asked about English, and she said she had to take one ENglish class, and while papers were required, she didn't turn any in, and still got a B in the course. She explained this by saying it was the teacher's first year here at Xavier. Then I asked about philosophy, and she said she is taking logic to satisfy this requirement and no papers. It miraculously seems like Theology is the only place here on campus that is teaching students to write. This explains to me partly why students have such a difficult time with these assigments, and why the writing suffers from so many errors, including subject verb agreement, possessives, and misspellings. I think this student will have a hard time in my class, when suddenly she will have two classes with four papers in each class. We talked about the writing center and other resources. Anyway, I was amazed that someone could complete four years of college at Xavier (or anywhere) and never have had to write a paper. Incredible.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Tonight I should be able to finish digitizing the movies that I'll need for my presentation in a couple of weeks. Some of these films are quite bad, but some are good. I wish I could capture the images clearer. I project the vhs and dvd clips onto a wall and record them with a digital movie camera. Some, especially VHS, look grainy. We'll see how they turn out. I will have to spend a great deal of time in the next couple of weeks organizing the clips into sections, such as archaeology as science, alcohol and archaeology, etc. This project has eaten up a great deal of time. When the clips are relevant, I show them to my students who really enjoy them.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Today I've been meeting with my Theology 2001 groups who are designing websites. In retrospect, I probably should have had more checkpoints earlier to guide them. I've noticed many groups have put off this project and haven't put in the work required up until this point. Yet, some groups have amazed me at the research and insight they've put into this. I like how each group has had to split up the project, with each member being responsible for a critical methodology and applying it to their passage. Then in the end, as a group, they'll put all their parts together. But some groups of course have members that aren't quite as motivated as they should be. When I was a student, this is why I hated group projects. Here at Xavier I've been told repeatedly about the merits of group projects, mostly because this is how the world will often work they graduate. But there is a huge difference, in that members that slack off can get fired in the real world. Overall I've been pleased with the projects, but now it's crunch time, and we'll see how they come together. It seems I have to invest in a floppy disk drive, as I can currently only read CD, DVD and Zip, not 3.5 floppies, which is what the students have. Teaching with technology is pretty darn expensive.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Today in my Theology 2001 course, The Torah of Israel, I brought in my model of the Tabernacle and reinacted the Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) sacrifice. This is always a popular lecture, mostly because I get a student volunteer to wear an outfit of the High Priest which I made. They then use the urim and thummim to see which goat will be the scapegoat. When talking about this desert demon named Azazel, I showed clips from the movie Exorcist where a priest/archaeologist digs up a Pazuza statue in northern Iraq, and thus unleashes this unholy spirit who takes over that girl. Why do most horror films start with archaeologists finding something? Anyway, the model of the Tabernacle along with altars and goats with blood on the horns of the altar etc I think really lets students see how a very important holiday in the Bible would have been inacted. Plus they get to see a classmate look funny dressed as the high priest.

Saturday, October 25, 2003

Whewwww! I just finished putting all my quizzes into Blackboard for the semester. I decided to try this out for the current semester. When I came to Xavier I felt it necessary to give quizzes to make sure students were doing the readings before class. I would usually give these out on Friday of MWF sections, and Thursday of TTh sections. But, these took away about 15 minutes of classtime, and often students would come in late and I would be spineless and let them take it. In short, it was becoming a problem. So I learned blackboard. I now put all of my reserve articles on it in .doc or .pdf format, and all the class handouts. Everything except the textbooks. This has been very popular with the students, though it has made this semester rough as I try to get all the articles typed out about a week before they are due. Anyway, when I teach these courses in the future it should be easier. Well, back to the quizzes. I put five questions from each day's reading assignment on blackboard, and using the random pool option each student is presented with 3 randomly selected multiple-choice questions from the pool of 5. They are given a five minute time limit, and the quizzes go offline when class starts. Thus, they have to take the quiz before the class for which they were assigned. In the end, there will be 30 quizzes, which makes 90 quiz questions. I will drop the lowest 3 quiz scores. If I take the huge amount of time involved in making up the quizzes and setting up blackboard properly, these have been great. The students I find are really doing the reading more closely, and they are coming to class prepared. Also, I don't have to spend any class time going over the quizzes. Once in a while there has been a problem. Blackboard, or more likely, Xavier's server was down for a few days. I simply postponed the due date for that quiz. Also, once in a while the students think a question might not have been worded properly, or something similar, or their computer froze. These I deal with on an individual basis. Anyway, hallelujah, I now have all the quizzes on blackboard for all of my courses this semester. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to work on my atlas.

Friday, October 24, 2003

Technology has been sucking up my life. Not literally. It’s just that lately about 80% of my waking hours involves fiddling with cables and rebooting my computer. This is mostly because of two things. First, I’ve switched from PowerPoint to Keynote, and this takes a great deal of time to learn the new software and to make the PowerPoint features fit. It is such a huge disadvantage that Keynote does not have hyperlinks, and I really hope they put this into the next edition. Second, technology is eating away at my life because I’ve been digitizing all sorts of video and DVD. I have a presentation coming up for the American Schools of Oriental Research, and my paper covers the way archaeology and archaeologists have been portrayed in film. So I either convert from video using an analog converter at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching, or more recently, I’ve shown DVD and VHS films using a projector onto a bedsheet on the wall, and then film this with the audio going into the mike jack on the camera. Then I have to export these from imovie to quicktime. I’ve got some great clips, such as the Mole People, Laura Croft, Exorcist, Mummy, and of course Indiana Jones, but my God this eats up time. Also money. I had to pay about $50 to get my hands on this old movie called Skullduggery in which Burt Reynolds of all people plays an archaeologist. Hopefully I can get most of this recorded and exported into quicktime in the next couple of weeks. I’ve got a bunch of writing that needs attention, especially the Bible atlas I’m working on as well as my website BibleDudes. Bart Everson at CAT has been very helpful in working with me on digitizing the film clips. The ones that I’ve shown in class, such as a Seinfeld clip where Newman is like Solomon, have been very well received.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I've converted many of my lectures from Powerpoint to Keynote. This has been very time consuming. Keynote has really cool slide transitions and graphics capabilities. Plus in my mind the menu makes more sense. However, this is the first version of keynote, and it does not contain the ability to make hyperlinks. This is a major flaw in my opinion. Occasionally I would hyperlink to websites, but mostly I would hyperlink to various documents in the powerpoint lecture. I would even have urim and thummim icons on questions pages that I could click and the computer would randomly select a slide with one of the student's pictures, and they would answer. I can't do that with keynote. But keynote does integrate with quicktime better.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

In an attempt to make my lectures more interesting, I've decided to move away from PowerPoint and will give Keynote a try. Keynote, as a Mac OS software program, is supposed to be a bit more stylish and compatible with quicktime. It should be here in a few days, and I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I've been incorporating a great deal of digitized movie clips into my lectures, as well as sound files. The students seem to enjoy these, and they help the students to pay attention. Mostly I've done this in my Torah of Israel class, where we show clips from Moses movies such as the 10 commandments when relevant. I've also put in clips of sound files, such as Louis Armstrong singing Go DOwn Moses, and Billy Crystal's comedy bit about Edward G. Robinson miscast in 10 Commandments. I believe comedy helps me in teaching.

Monday, October 13, 2003

I handed back exams in Theology 2001 today. SOme were excellent, some were awful. It is always hard for me to hand back the awful ones. It makes me feel guilty. Part of this is because I was so driven as a student that such bad grades would have crushed me. Part of this is because if students do poorly it reflects negatively on me as a teacher. I wish I could motivate ALL my students to put the time in for test. I used to have a few teachers who really motivated me to do well. Anyway, the days I hand back tests always suck.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

I've spent Sunday creating Blackboard quizzes for upcoming dates. I create a pool of five multiple-choice questions worth one point each. Then in the quiz section each quiz randomly selects three questions from the pool. Students have five minutes to take the quiz and they can only take it once. Thus far, halfway through the semester, the students have taken 16 quizzes already. What is good about this is we don't use class time for quizzes, and with the quizzes before each class over the readings I've noticed the students have been reading. In fact, they've been reading more than ever in my experience in teaching. The bad side is it takes a great amount of time to keep this updated. I should be spending time with my family today or finishing the atlas I am writing instead.

Saturday, October 11, 2003

I've spent Friday night and Saturday grading exams for both of my classes. I decided to expand my website on guidelines for paper writing. Same old issues, such as starting off papers with dictionary definitions, mixing up alter/altar, Israel/IsrEAl, and improper citation format. Anyway, overall I was pleased with the exams. Several students though didn't seem to study too hard, and turned in exams half blank. Also, in the portion where students wrote papers outside of class, I've had a few turn in downloaded papers, who will fail the assignment. These students usually wind up dropping the course, so in the end I wonder if there are really any repurcussions for plagiarism.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

In my Theology 1120 course, Intro to Biblical Studies, I feel I’m facing something of a dilemma and/or problem. I often make jokes when I’m lecturing, and I feel humor is one of my biggest assets in teaching. This is always remarked upon and praised in my student evaluations. A group of what I estimate to be three or four students, led by one student in particular, voiced their opinion that I must not make jokes about New Orleans. In the past I’ve referenced the poor health people in the region have, due to largely to obesity, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption, as well as poor public education in the area, and lousy driving. How on earth does this relate to biblical studies? Great question. I might have been lecturing on Eli or Eglon being fat, as the Bible says, and said something like “The Bible claims Eli was fat--not New Orleans fat mind you, but maybe Green Bay or Chicago fat.” Such a joke would come up about once a week or so, and to be honest I’ve never really paid attention to it in the past. I certainly make way more jokes about Nebraska, my home state, and California, where I lived for years. But one day in class I felt verbally attacked by a student, the leader I mentioned earlier, who claimed that people in the class demanded I end the New Orleans references. I explained that I care very very much about improving New Orleans, and many of the problems faced in this community terrify me, and that I am dedicated to improving them, but often I make jokes about very serious matters as a means to deal with these matters. This group congregates in the back of the class, and often during lecture they look at me with very angry expressions. Early this week, when we were going over the study guide for yesterday’s exam, a few of these students stated the study guide for the exam was “totally ridiculous” and that I was expecting way too much from them. I tried to explain that I know my classes are challenging and require a great deal of work, but that I feel that students perform to expectations and that I’ve made a commitment to set the bar high. They said this was not their hardest class, but that the exam would be. Unfortunately this argument lasted about 10 minutes of the review session, and I felt attacked and that I was losing control of the class. After the class several students came up to me and said I wasn’t expecting too much, just that the students in question always complained. I felt terrible in that the students took pity on me and said these things, and felt I wasn’t being a good teacher if I was dividing the class as such. In the end, I thought long and hard about it, and decided not to lower or compromise my standards. During the exam, several of these students made a half-hearted effort on the exam, and for much of it put their heads on their arms and pretended to be napping. This group also had a problem with wandering eyes, and a couple of times I had to remind them to keep their eyes on their own papers. After the exam, when I was leaving the classroom, I noticed them congregating and giving me dirty looks. When I was grading I noticed this group left much of the exam, such as a map section and the summary of an article, completely blank. I have never experienced a group of students turning on me as such, and feel the need to talk to them to resolve this issue before it gets out of hand. I think I will set up an appointment with one or more of these students when the time is right, after a few days for them to reflect on the exam.
Yesterday my students in 1120 (Intro to Biblical Studies) completed an examination. I've graded most of them, and the grades were overall good. About five of the 28 students scored in the 90's. They hand in papers related to this exam tomorrow. My other class, Theology 2001, is taking an exam on Friday. I've had several students come to my office with questions, which is a good thing. The server here at the university has been quite slow, and at times inoperable. I hope this doesn't effect students emailing me with questions. With Blackboard I will be able to post keys on the website, and then not spend class time going over the exam.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Last Saturday I took about 12 of my 1120 students (Introduction to Biblical Studies) and we volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. We put a roof on a house, as well as installed windows and a variety of other tasks. I've implemented a Service Learning component into the course, where students pick a biblical verse that would improve the world, and then implement it through at least 8 hours of service. Most students chose to go with me to Habitat, and I think it is a very positive experience. I get to know the students better, and they get to know me. They also meet other people in the community, both volunteers and the people who will be buying the house.

Monday, October 06, 2003

In my Torah of Israel class, theology 2001, the students have a group project in which they will create a website about a particular passage in the Torah. These websites will have a variety of critical methods, such as textual criticism, historical criticism, literary criticism, source criticism, etc. I've noticed that because of the project, I've been meeting quite a bit with students outside of class. This is time consuming, but overall a very positive feature. I get to know the students better when I meet with the groups and individually. The students seem excited that their websites will really be online.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

This is my first blog. How exciting! I'm creating this online journal in order to be a better teacher. I hope it will clarify my thoughts on a variety of issues. I've recently made a huge effort to teach using technology. This includes using powerpoint, web authoring, blackboard, digital imagery, audio files, and digitizing movies and clips from television shows. I think thus far, about midway in the Fall 2003 semester, it has been very successful. This is mainly because I decided to no longer teach the texts. What I mean by this is that in the past, I would expect students to read the assignments before coming to class. They rarely did, and had little motivation to do so, because when they got to class I would summarize the reading material for them. Now students are really doing the reading and we have had excellent discussions on a high level in my classes. We are talking about critically reflective ideas instead of details. This is due to to innovations I've used. First, I create blackboard quizzes on the daily reading assignments that students must take before classtime. I create a pool of 5 questions, and the students are randomly given 3 questions, multiple-choice, and they have 5 minutes to complete these. Second, before each assignment I have a list of questions and terms that I expect them to know before class. In class, we examine the questions in powerpoint, and I have programmed my computer to randomly select one of their pictures. That student is then responsible for answering the question. After we briefly go over the questions, we then use the rest of the class to discuss, compare and contrast various ancient texts, including the Bible. Anyway, let me end this--my first blog--by saying thus far I have been very impressed with the results. I told my students I believe that often they achieve to where the expectations are set, and that I have personally raised the bar in my classes. I've adopted the moto "I care whether you're learning." I write that on the board before each class.