Well, what to say? I took the CAPES Tuesday and Wednesday and I feel so. much. better now. The whole thing felt so shrouded in mystery. I’ve taken so many American tests that I hardly blink at them anymore, but this one felt like diving into foreign territory. And in a way, it was. But the experience itself was totally chill. I had to take a taxi in on Tuesday morning because I didn’t want to deal with the strike, but once I actually got there it wasn’t too stressful. The surveillants were totally nice, and they checked my copies both days to make sure I’d filled everything in right (though I did finish early both days). The room was about half empty the first day—that is, half the spots marked with names were empty. It’s not too surprising because lots of people had to register for 2011 before they got their results for 2010, but on the concours forums people are reporting in with much lower numbers than usual. Of course this is all informal information-gathering but it’s still interesting.
We were in the same room with the German CAPES and there were only three of us anglicistes doing the CAFEP. The girl next to me turned out to be an American—one of those slightly strange situations where you THINK you hear an accent but can’t presume, so we spoke French the whole time until Wednesday when we left the room at the same time and finally it came out that we were both anglophones.
If anyone’s curious, the commentaire was about an excerpt from Thoreau’s Walden (boy did that bring me back to high school), the thème was from Houellebecq, La possibilité d’une île, and the version was from Zadie Smith’s On Beauty. I’m not sure whether it helped that I’m a fan of hers and read the book when it came out. I won’t go into detail on each of the épreuves because, well, that’s sort of boring. But I feel like I did as well as I reasonably hoped to do, and that there’s a good chance I’ll be admissible. But we won’t know until the end of January! I haven’t decided if I’ll start working on the orals before I know if I’m going, but I’m leaning toward not, since the orals are in June (in Lille) and I’d like a big break from the CAPES.
Back to normal life! (for the time being)