--is the question that I would have liked to ask about midway through last night's phone interview.
So this was my seventh academic first-interview ever (the other six were last year, ranging from MLA to eleventh-hour phone interviews for one-years), and it was by far, BY FAR, the worst. All the other ones seemed fine, actually, although five of them yielded nothing.
The Interview of Despair basically comprised a series of extremely detailed questions about how I would put together courses I've never taught before. A couple of the courses they wanted to hear about were entirely reasonable, and I was prepared for them. But then we went off down a Dark and Dangerous Path that actually crosses the Terrain of Another Field Entirely, Terrain that I in no way, ever, anywhere, implied that I knew anything about. I was able to wing the first question or two, but when we got into highly specific theoretical approaches, I had to say that I just didn't know.
In that moment, I smiled to myself and thought, Well, they can only keep me on the phone for another 10 minutes or so, right? And then I thought about the bourbon awaiting me in the kitchen.
I was also a little disappointed that I'd spent all afternoon rehearsing my research and teaching answers, thinking about difficult teaching situations I've been in and how I elicit discussion from recalcitrant students, and didn't get to mention any of that. No! It was all course planning. Very specific course planning. As in, Why isn't Author X on this syllabus? What is this book that you said you'd use about? Weird.
Oh well. I just wonder why they even bothered to call me--they can't possibly think that I do the stuff that they evidently want someone to teach, can they? Whatever.