I have a love-hate relationship with Seow’s Grammar. I used it for my first year Hebrew textbook as well. I was not prepared. I don’t think anyone in that class was prepared. Before taking that course, I had purchased and started making my way through Futato’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew. That was very helpful and it made me confident that I could actually learn it. Then when I started going through Seow in class, I felt like my face hit the asphalt. I was spending hours just memorizing grammatical rules and verb conjugations. I got so bogged down that I felt like even if I was learning Hebrew, the whole point was to understand what an actual Hebrew text was saying, but that wasn’t happening. We eventually translated the first two chapters of Jonah (one of the last exercises in the whole book). Even with my head crammed full of grammar, I was not prepared—especially for the second chapter. I could point out all kinds of interesting grammatical things, but had no idea what to do with it! I felt like my first year was a failure. Nowadays, I look back on it and think, wow, that introduced me to things that I had no conception of at the time, but take for granted now. Learning would have been so much more satisfying if I had spent as much time with an actual ancient Hebrew text than endless hours rehearsing how to attach suffixes to nouns or what Masoretic rules to apply for vocalizations.
A few things I wish I had learned from Seow or things I wish Seow did differently...
1. Talk about and show differences between poetry and prose.
2. Just because a verb is wayyitqol doesn’t mean it starts with “and” (something about grammaticalization would’ve been nice to learn since I had not taken a linguistics course before I started).
3. Focus on the consonantal text first (not the Masoretic vocalization).
4. Introduce Qal, Niphal, Piel, Pual, Hiphil, Hophal, and Hithpael, FIRST and what they communicate. Then introduce the Perfect, Imperfect, Imperative, Jussive, Cahortative, Participles, Infinitives, and whatnot, what they communicate, SECOND.
5. Have verbs and nouns from the same root together in the vocab lists... Have similar sounding or similar spelled words together in the vocab lists (for example, have "cloud" and "to answer/reply" next to each other... or have "friend," "shepherd," and "to feed/shepherd" together).
6. Feel free to introduce concepts for the first time from actual biblical texts instead of in a chart (i.e., spend as much time going through an actual text than explaining the ins and outs of a particular grammar subject).
7. Do a better job talking about historical grammar.