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.

Back to Books: Libraries in France

In an attempt to stop being so lazy and actually learn something again, I finally got around to renewing my library card tonight (it had expired in December). Then I quickly remembered why I hadn’t renewed it. Let’s just say that I’ve never been too impressed with French libraries. [Even though you learned that bibliothèque […]

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Studying Multiple Languages Simultaneously

I’ve been working on my French & German Comparative Tutorial this week, and also searching the internet to find other sites that help people learn more than one language at a time. I am so disappointed. I’ve found a few vocabulary lists, but they’re mostly just showing the similarities among Romance languages. I can’t find […]

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How to Become a Lecteur/Lectrice d’Anglais or Maître de Langue at a French University

The English Assistantship is a great way for Anglophones to work in France and gain teaching experience in elementary or secondary schools, without necessarily having a university degree. However, if you are working towards or have a graduate degree and would like to teach English at a university in France, you can apply to be […]

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L’acquisition, l’avenir et l’argent

Not much has been happening in my life lately. I looked through the archives to remind myself of what was going on last July. Compared to one year ago, things are definitely much better. I have my residency card (good until May 2009), my French driver’s license (good until forever), and I have a job […]

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Bread Machine in Italian & Books in German

I recently ordered a bread machine from because unlike most people, I do not like baguettes and prefer big loaves of bread with soft crusts. Plus the sandwich-style bread you can buy in France does not taste very good. Even though I had ordered it from a French company and the picture in the […]

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Summertime means…

Boats on the lake Big salads Bright lights Pretty flowers Clear water Fireworks on the 14th Cigales in the south

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The Best Photo Ever

This photo of David & his sister, Carole, was taken about 25 years ago at the OK Corral Western Theme Park in Cuges-les-Pins, just east of Marseille. I absolutely adore it because they are polar opposites.  Notice the arm holding Carole in place!  She smiles a lot more for photos nowadays, but man, did she […]

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Provençal Villages, Arles & Van Gogh’s Room

We’ve returned from our week in Provence!  Last year we mostly visited the larger cities (Avignon, Orange, etc.), so this year we visited many of the smaller villages in Vaucluse (74), and then drove down to Salon-de-Provence and Arles in Bouches-du-Rhône (13). The beauty of Provençal villages never gets old to me. The colors, the […]

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French Postcards from the Early 20th Century

David & I are down in Provence for the week at his mom’s cousin’s (Bobby & Martine) house in Sarrians, in the département of Vaucluse. The weather is perfect (hot and sunny), the sound of the cigales (cicadas) is so relaxing, and we have trips to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, Salon-de-Provence, Aix-en-Provence and L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue planned. I have no […]

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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.


The 2nd edition of French Language Tutorial is available as a PDF book. It has been updated with much more vocabulary, sample sentences, and cultural information, plus extended vocabulary lists, cross-referenced topics, and an alphabetical index.

Visit the Store to buy the PDF e-book for $14.95 or paperback book for $29.95.