On the digital, the analog, and being a “prospective”

February 11, 2007 at 8:16 pm (Uncategorized)

I have been neglecting this blog terribly, but alas — analog life intervenes.*   The analog and the digital often meet in quirky, pleasing ways, though, and this weekend was one of them, as I met a person “in the flesh” who I’d only ever corresponded with via another blogging site before now.  We interviewed at the same school.  (While that could be a terrible way to meet, as you’re essentially competing with your new buddy for admission and a funding package, and not everybody there is going to make the cut, I didn’t get a lot of that dynamic this weekend.  Being the only potential medievalist there probably helped.  It also, tangentially, underscored the importance of being able to talk to non-specialists about this specialized stuff, a skill which the interview visit helped me realize I need to further hone, though thesis writing has brought it to my attention already.)

My first interview didn’t go so well.  I was faced with a pedagogy question that I was completely unprepared for, and the flailing ensued — I never quite recovered from the suck that was that question, though I didn’t hit the ground running in that first interview anyway.  I was asked how I would incorporate my work/interest in Old English poetry into a freshman composition classroom.  As my advisor wryly remarked, the proper answer to that can only be something along the lines of, “Well, I like to start my composition classes with a discussion of the Old English inflectional system. I find it breaks the ice.”

Long ramble on how different the student body at this school would be compared to the schools I’ve attended previously will have to wait.  In any case, I left with a favorable impression of the department overall as well as some very real concerns about the prospect of being not only the only student medievalist in my year, but the only student medievalist in the department. Assuming I get good news here, and get good news from one other place at the top of my list (I still haven’t heard from six of the eight schools I applied to), this will be an incredibly difficult decision to make.  However, I should note that I am quite aware that it beats the “So will I try to get a job teaching 4/4 as a new intern or shall I work at the local coffeehouse this year” type of decision.

And now, I have papers to grade.  In lieu of real, new content of interest to medievalists, I think I might recycle a brief response to something I wrote about Malory, since it touches on some discussions that were going on over at In The Middle.

* This is a terribly faulty opposition considering the way I’m using the term analog, but that will also have to wait.

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