Let's get back to prepping for interviews with teaching schools. First, let me say a huge thanks to everybody who left ideas in comments--John Turri, Sisyphus, Michael Cholbi, and various Anonymouses--to say nothing of Inside the Philosophy Factory, who's put up a post about this stuff.
So here it is, a big list of teaching questions to prep for, divided into my not-very-well-thought-out categories.
1. What kind of intro do you teach and why? As Anon. 1:58 puts it, "What do you cover in Intro and why? Do you give a historical or problems course? Do you emphasize methods or content? Primary sources or textbook?"
2. Inside the Philosophy Factory's got a broader take on the same idea. She asks, what's your "vision for 'normal' philosophy courses and your methods for teaching logic? Here you'll want to explain the kinds of exercises you'll do to keep students engaged. You'll also want to explain your assessment methods for those courses."
Interdisciplinary and cross-department teaching.
3. What would you teach if you got to design your own course integrating material from other disciplines?
4. From Sisyphus, "How would you teach our cross-listed courses with gen ed./the Core Curriculum/some other department/the writing program?"
As an aside, up to this point I'm feeling okay. I think I could get through these without so much as messing up my hair. But now things take a turn for the worse.
5. How would you engage students that are required to take philosophy courses but who otherwise would not have?
Uh, isn't this question asking me how to make the horse drink once I get it to the god-damned water? Because I don't know how to do that.
6. Here's a variation from Anon. 1:58: "How would you get students at our school interested in your class X? Why would our students want to take it?"
7. John Turri's talking engagement too, but he's going a different direction: "What techniques would you use to engage students, in the same class, of very different levels of ability and interest?"
Which bring us to. . . .
Okay, these next questions make me feel like I'm getting hit in the face with a pipe.
8. Back to Sisyphus: "How would you work with our students as opposed to the ones at your current institution" (i.e., differences in diversity, age, college prep, money, types of feeder schools, a religious mission, they are all huge b-ball fans, etc.)" To be clear, there's a lot of fucking diversity here: age, college prep, cultural background, money, religion. Holy shit, that's a hard question to answer.
In fact, that question put me on the ground, bleeding out of my mouth. Then the next one starts kicking me in the ribs.
9. Here's Inside the Philosophy Factory: What are "your methods for adjusting to different preparation levels in the classroom? Here is where you'll have to explain how you'll deal with the kid who can't read and the kid who had to come home from Princeton sitting next to one another in your freshman Ethics course."
Uh, so far my "methods" have been to teach at a school that pretty much only admits upper-middle-class white kids who mostly went to private high schools. Is that the wrong answer? Because it's the only fucking answer I've got. Moving on. . . .
10. How does your research inform your teaching?
11. From Anon. 1:58: "What is your strength/weakness as a teacher? What is special about your classes? What do you feel you need to work on?"
12. John T again: "What incentives do you build into the course to encourage your students to actually do the reading?"
Just go back to earlier themes, are you saying it doesn't work to threaten them with getting a grade as low as B+?
13. What technology do you use in teaching? Besides chalk, I guess.
14. From Inside the Philosophy Factory: How would you "deal with a few students who are doing badly in the class -- and how you would deal with a significant portion of the class that is doing badly? She recommends, "The key with the student is to offer more help and to understand what resources are available to help students who need more assistance. With the class who is doing badly, discuss how you'd do some review to reinforce some important concepts AND to do classroom assessment techniques like asking about the 'muddiest point' etc."
15. From Sisyphus, "what sorts of limitations do you see yourself working around in your research here (i.e., how will you deal with our heavy teaching load and research requirements at the same time?)?"
16. And Michael Cholbi underlines the point: "Be ready to talk about how you'd teach large courses (50+) on your own."
Michael C. also recommends having a handful of memorable points to make about your teaching. Now, nothing makes a talking point go down smooth like a charming little anecdote. . . .
17. From Anon. 1:58: "What was your worst/best moment as a philosophy teacher and why? How did you react/respond?"
18. Sisyphus again: "Describe a time you had to deal with a problem student."
19. And back to Inside the Philosophy Factory: Describe "your most challenging teaching situation and your most rewarding experience. Here is where you tell the story about little Jimmy who was sure he couldn't do logic -- who had talked himself out of being able to pass the class and who finally ended up passing the class"
I'm absolutely fucked.
20. Anon. 1:58: "From a religious school: How would you get along with our students?"
True story: I totally fucked this one up at least year's APA. Totally.
21. Inside the Philosophy Factory Again: Talk about "your professional development. Here is where you'll want to talk about the teaching seminars you're attending via your grad university, how you are a member of APT etc... This is not where you give details about conference papers, publications etc -- unless there is a research element to your position. Then you make it about 50/50."
Ah, yes. The teaching seminars I attended at my grad university. So, so many teaching seminars.
22. Anon. 1:58 again, this time with a real sphincter-clencher: "Suppose someone (perhaps a community member, and not necessarily a student) came to you and asked how to resolve moral problem X. What would you tell them to do?"
I wouldn't even know how to begin this. Couldn't I just pretend I'm deaf or something?
23. Finally, here's one I got last year: "Which do you see as you primary focus--teaching or research?" If I get the chance, tomorrow I'll tell the story of the bloody carnage that ensued.
Okay, that's what I've got. If you want more, read through the comments here and go check out Inside the Philosophy factory's advice. Also, Michael C. points us to a thread at his place that gives a good look inside the heads of search committees at teaching schools.