CAPES d’Anglais 2009

David has decided to prepare for the CAPES d’anglais! Normally, in order to become an English teacher for l’Education Nationale in France, students do a Licence in English for 3 years and then go to an IUFM (teacher training college) where they prepare for the CAPES for a year and then do their student teaching if they pass the oral and written exams. [This will change in 2010; Sarko is getting rid of the IUFM and those who want to become teachers will have to do a Master's, or Bac+5, instead.]

However, David has a Maîtrise in Sociology, and he’s doing to the distance-learning preparation courses through CNED. Apparently the CNED option is very good, so we’ll see if he can pull it off without having a Licence in English. And it helps that he lives with a native speaker of English who loves English grammar.

This year, the required literature is:

  • King Lear by Shakespeare
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

And the required civilization reading is:

  • L’empire de l’exécutif : la présidence des États-Unis de Franklin Roosevelt à George W. Bush (1933-2006)

So yay for the civilization part being American! I’ve only read King Lear so far, but don’t remember much since it was almost 10 years ago… Sorry, Mr. Fuller! But I will be reading the books as well. One of these days I may try the CAFEP, which is for private schools. (I can’t do the CAPES because I’m not an EU citizen.)

David was actually thinking about doing the CAFEP too, but there are only 60 spots open in all of France! Both concours are very competitive obviously, but at least with the CAPES there are more jobs (though increasingly less and less…) However, the bad thing about the CAPES is that if you pass, you must teach at the school where l’Education Nationale assigns you. You can’t really choose where you want to work. And if you are young, unmarried, with no children, you have fewer “points” than other candidates, which means you’re more likely to be sent to schools in Créteil and Versailles where no one else wants to work. David isn’t as young as other candidates, and being PACSed should give him some extra points, but I’m worried that he would be sent some place that I absolutely do not want to live, i.e. anywhere within 2 hours of Paris.

If anyone has advice for someone without a Licence in English, and what David should focus most on for the exams, please let me know.

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  • http://www.confituredulait.blogspot.com/ karina

    yeah I heard about the IUFM change in 2010, it is one of the big reasons that I’m really trying to stick with it and finish my M2 as soon as possible! If I get nationality (hopefully in the next 2 or 3 years) and still am interested then I’ll be sure to be able to at least take the concours. Its amazing that he’s requiring a bac +5! There were only 10 students in my M2 class this year… in English and most of the time by the time that people get to the M2 they are interested in doing a PhD and wouldn’t want to go teach in primary school or junior high (very understandably so)

    I wonder how this will work out for Sarko… something tells me they are going to run short of teachers!

    karinas last blog post..summer in normandy

  • http://www.confituredulait.blogspot.com karina

    yeah I heard about the IUFM change in 2010, it is one of the big reasons that I’m really trying to stick with it and finish my M2 as soon as possible! If I get nationality (hopefully in the next 2 or 3 years) and still am interested then I’ll be sure to be able to at least take the concours. Its amazing that he’s requiring a bac +5! There were only 10 students in my M2 class this year… in English and most of the time by the time that people get to the M2 they are interested in doing a PhD and wouldn’t want to go teach in primary school or junior high (very understandably so)

    I wonder how this will work out for Sarko… something tells me they are going to run short of teachers!

    karinas last blog post..summer in normandy

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com/ Leah

    Ah, the CAPES. Oh, the joy! I see they’ve changed the majority of the books…the only one they kept is Grapes of Wrath. I’ve heard good things about the CNED as well. I don’t really think I’d have advice as I didn’t do it the entire year. Just work hard, study hard and make sure to memorize quotes! Good luck to David!

  • http://leahenfranceparttrois.blogspot.com Leah

    Ah, the CAPES. Oh, the joy! I see they’ve changed the majority of the books…the only one they kept is Grapes of Wrath. I’ve heard good things about the CNED as well. I don’t really think I’d have advice as I didn’t do it the entire year. Just work hard, study hard and make sure to memorize quotes! Good luck to David!

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com/ Zhu

    All I can say is I had a good experience with the CNED. I found the classes good (other subject though) and the feedback from their teachers and tutors was helpfulé

    Zhus last blog post..Things That Freak Me Out

  • http://www.correresmidestino.com Zhu

    All I can say is I had a good experience with the CNED. I found the classes good (other subject though) and the feedback from their teachers and tutors was helpfulé

    Zhus last blog post..Things That Freak Me Out

  • http://toutesdirectionspourlafrance.blogspot.com/ L

    The time it takes to become a teacher will remain the same with the changes, since now with the IUFM it’s 5 years (3 for License, and 2 at IUFM), and a Master is 5 years as well.

    As for preparing for the CAPES, a Franco-American friend of my parents passed it years ago, after 3 tries. She said a large portion of the test is in French, which makes it that much more difficult for native speakers to pass it because they deduct more points for errors in the French part than for errors in the English part. That also explains why some English teachers in France get away with really bad English. My parents’ friend said she really had to study the French take on anglo culture as well. For instance, the French understanding of Nixon and Watergate is different from the American experience. I’m sure the book on American presidents will have a few “facts” that will make an American say “Huh? That’s not how I learned it.” But then that aspect will be easier for David since he’s French.

    Ls last blog post..No more sexist blood tests

  • http://toutesdirectionspourlafrance.blogspot.com L

    The time it takes to become a teacher will remain the same with the changes, since now with the IUFM it’s 5 years (3 for License, and 2 at IUFM), and a Master is 5 years as well.

    As for preparing for the CAPES, a Franco-American friend of my parents passed it years ago, after 3 tries. She said a large portion of the test is in French, which makes it that much more difficult for native speakers to pass it because they deduct more points for errors in the French part than for errors in the English part. That also explains why some English teachers in France get away with really bad English. My parents’ friend said she really had to study the French take on anglo culture as well. For instance, the French understanding of Nixon and Watergate is different from the American experience. I’m sure the book on American presidents will have a few “facts” that will make an American say “Huh? That’s not how I learned it.” But then that aspect will be easier for David since he’s French.

    Ls last blog post..No more sexist blood tests

  • Carrie

    Jennie – do you know how difficult is it would be to do the CAPES if I am an EU Citizen, native English speaker and have a Master’s Degree? I wouldn’t even mind working in Versailles/Creteil area, but my French is not that strong at the moment.

  • Carrie

    Apparently my English isn’t that great either. Nice typos!!!!

  • Carrie

    Jennie – do you know how difficult is it would be to do the CAPES if I am an EU Citizen, native English speaker and have a Master’s Degree? I wouldn’t even mind working in Versailles/Creteil area, but my French is not that strong at the moment.

  • Carrie

    Apparently my English isn’t that great either. Nice typos!!!!

  • http://www.butterflymoments.fr/ Steve

    There is an entire mini-book industry based around the concours as I’m sure you know, and as several people have said the quality of written French is apparently at least as important as the quality of your written English. (if you take the CAFEP, as I am this year, be sure to brush up on the passé simple and other useful English-teaching stuff :-)

    My wife is French and agregé in English, and her advice to me has always been to focus on method for the dissertation and commentaire, as there is a specifically French method of writing (particularly for the dissert) that may seem alien to the more free-flowing style of presentation Americans are accustomed to.

    I have spent the day working for the concours, and I think the most important thing to keep in mind might be this: the proposed translations and essays in books on the subject are much, much better than what a human can reasonably be expected to produce in 2,5 (trad) or 7 hours (dissert). After discussing this with my wife, we have come to the conclusion that this is because the people who write the books open themselves up to the criticism of their colleagues and so make the level required seem preposterously high. Having spent a good part of the day demoralized by this fact (all the while appreciating the quality of their work), I had to remind myself of this common sense conclusion.

    This leads me to the only advice I can give in good conscience… don’t give up or lose hope. The number of people who give up either before, during or (especially) after the written part of the test should be taken into consideration when imagining your chances… (This is especially true apparently for the agrégation where there are apparently a very significant number of blank exams turned back in.)

    Good luck to you both, I was glad to stumble across your blog. If ever you happen over to Lyon, we would enjoy meeting you.

  • http://www.butterflymoments.fr Steve

    There is an entire mini-book industry based around the concours as I’m sure you know, and as several people have said the quality of written French is apparently at least as important as the quality of your written English. (if you take the CAFEP, as I am this year, be sure to brush up on the passé simple and other useful English-teaching stuff :-)

    My wife is French and agregé in English, and her advice to me has always been to focus on method for the dissertation and commentaire, as there is a specifically French method of writing (particularly for the dissert) that may seem alien to the more free-flowing style of presentation Americans are accustomed to.

    I have spent the day working for the concours, and I think the most important thing to keep in mind might be this: the proposed translations and essays in books on the subject are much, much better than what a human can reasonably be expected to produce in 2,5 (trad) or 7 hours (dissert). After discussing this with my wife, we have come to the conclusion that this is because the people who write the books open themselves up to the criticism of their colleagues and so make the level required seem preposterously high. Having spent a good part of the day demoralized by this fact (all the while appreciating the quality of their work), I had to remind myself of this common sense conclusion.

    This leads me to the only advice I can give in good conscience… don’t give up or lose hope. The number of people who give up either before, during or (especially) after the written part of the test should be taken into consideration when imagining your chances… (This is especially true apparently for the agrégation where there are apparently a very significant number of blank exams turned back in.)

    Good luck to you both, I was glad to stumble across your blog. If ever you happen over to Lyon, we would enjoy meeting you.

  • http://lolwhites.blogspot.com/ M. le Prof d’Anglais
  • http://lolwhites.blogspot.com M. le Prof d’Anglais
  • http://grenierdesophie.canalblog.com/ Sophie D

    Salut, je découvre ton blog très sympa. Je te mets dans mes liens sur mon site du CAPEs anglais.

  • http://grenierdesophie.canalblog.com Sophie D

    Salut, je découvre ton blog très sympa. Je te mets dans mes liens sur mon site du CAPEs anglais.

  • roxana

    hi carrie..i know we don't know yet but i want to know the same thing as you do…i am a english teacher from Romanian,whose husband works legally in Paris and i was thinking to go teaching there..if you find the answer to the question you mentioned would you please be kind to let me know? thank you very much…i am with you…

  • nautilus

    Roxana and Carrie,

    Please note that all the “concours” require you do speak French. Excellent French. You don't have to be a native speaker…. but the exam is 50% about your ability to speak, reason and write in French as much as the language you wish you teach. Not unfeasible… just a bunch more work than you may think at first. Also, being a EU citizen does work -i.e. you must have a work permit/legal residency in France. And you need to register to the exam before July 13th, 2010 for the '2011' session now happening this coming fall '10. Almost logical, I know…. you may also want to register to the replacement listings each 'académie” holds. Because the current gov is suppressing more positions than needed, there are plenty of full-time positions that'll need to be filled as early as September. Good luck!

  • Tereze

    Hi Roxana. I know this is a very old thread but I am in a similar situation right now and cannot decide if it’s worth the effort. Have you had any luck teaching English in France?

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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