Let’s Make a Deal
Thanks to Modafinil

I love teaching. When I am teaching my classes, I’ll mention it. When writing essays, I’ll also mention it. I’ll even mention it to a stranger that I love teaching. It is my mantra. So, I love teaching, but why? It goes back to my family moving to Mt. Lebanon, which was the 19th best school system in the country. I learned, relative to my friends, that I was dumb. Granted, I made a mistake. However, it took me several decades to realize that I was not dumb. While I am not as smart as Donald the Dumb, our fake president, I do have some academic abilities. Nevertheless, the feeling of being dumb was etched into my frontal cortex of my brain. The red section in the animation below is a frontal cortex.

Frontal cortex

Our frontal cortex does many functions for us like thinking, language skills, memory, etc. Problem-solving is also included in the cognitive functioning of the frontal cortex.

Interestingly, over a year ago, I had a meeting with my neurologist about my sleep apnea. That issue was addressed, but he fortunately asked me whether I had any other questions. I told him that I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which means my mind is always moving from one idea to another thought. While I really benefit from that overactivity, the downside is that I have a hard time concentrating. He gave me a prescription for Modafinil. After only three weeks, it was obvious that it worked wonders. I consider Modafinil my wonder drug.

In a recent essay, I wrote about that in life things come our way unexpectantly. The coronavirus is one of them…a very negative one. This semester I am teaching a world religion survey class, in which each student needs to attend a worship service and write an essay about his or her experience. The only caveat is that the students must attend a religious service unrelated to their religious beliefs or that of his or her family.

A Hindu worship service

Rawan, one of my students, emailed me about a couple unrelated questions, which I addressed. Additionally, I added that she and the class will be on spring break soon. I suggested that she could do the field trip before the coronavirus arrives. Since I wanted to help one student, I posted the same comment to both my classes. If they wanted to take advantage of their spring break, I would allow them do their field trip now due to the impending invasion of COVID-19.

I posted an announcement at the beginning of spring break about getting that assignment done before Chicagoland has any confirmed cases of COVID-19. I have checked many times per day a link that I posted to both classes from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE). There are two reasons for that checking. I want to know the situation related to COVID-19 in Chicagoland where I teach and in Myanmar where my granddaughters attend school.

The reason for pushing my idea was twofold. At one level, the field trip is a great learning experience about another religion. Additionally, it allows the student to get a foretaste of the benefits of world travel. The student will attend a worship service of another from another part of the world doing religious service.

I tell all my classes that there is a vast gap between learning from a book and learning from being in a foreign country. Going to a Hindu worship service in America gives anyone a brief voyage to the other side of the world.

It was a great idea. Some students jumped on it while others thought about it. However, some waited too long to decide and clearing it with me. That resulted their finding out that that most religious services had been canceled due to the coronavirus.

Enter my wonder drug, Modafinil and the drug’s abilities with aiding a person’s ability to solve problems. I did a video for my class, which was about my idea of making a deal with them. I would enter an A for that assignment, which they couldn’t complete due to the coronavirus. I was willing to make them a deal if they would email me where they will attend a worship service after the coronavirus has gone.

My “let’s make a deal” morphs two of my very important wishes for my classes. The first is to understand far more fully some religion about which they have an extremely limited knowledge. The second benefit is that it will supply a very short trip overseas while they are attending that service. Traveling overseas is truly a critical means of learning. George Santayana said, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.”

This is my video to my two classes about “let’s make a deal.”