Last year I posted about signing up for the agrégation for the first time. I started reading the books for the externe exam last April and fell in love with Middlemarch. I managed to read up on Home Rule in Ireland, and finished The Confidence Man by Herman Melville (a total trip), and most of Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbury before the summer was up. Going into September I felt like I had reasonable hopes about it, since that left me two books two read and one civilisation topic to brush up on (the Obama presidency).
My original plan was just to do the externe exam because really I wanted all the advantages of being in the fonction publique, and I can only take the interne exam (fewer topics, shorter exam, just for people already teaching) in the private system. But in September I looked up how the interne exam works and realized I’d be foolish not to try for it too, just in case.
However then the reality of the school year hit and I was working on the agreg an average of 30 minutes every two weeks. I ended up setting myself a goal for the agreg over four years: this year and next year preparing as I could while working full-time, then getting a congé de formation (time off paid 80% while registered for an actual formation to prepare for it), then, if that didn’t take, asking for 80% time to have one day a week off the following year.
The written exam for the interne exam was at the end of January. By then I was also dealing with crushing fatigue and some morning sickness (more on that to come…). You can get two days off total before a concours so I went all in and took them before these written exams, feeling pretty much hopeless about making it to the orals and hoping just to get a good practice session out of it. Of course since one of the two days was a Wednesday, it was really only a half-day since I had Littlest with me in the afternoon which pretty much means no working.
The first day of the written exams was a TOTAL sketch, as the French would say. I almost missed getting there on time because I was so stressed I walked top speed the wrong direction out of the parking lot and ended up a 30-minute walk from the exam building, 25 minutes before the exam was to start. In an incredible stroke of luck a colleague driving by saw me stick out my thumb and saved me by getting me down to the exam center with time to spare. I still can’t quite believe both how dim-witted I was and how lucky I was that he drove by right that second.
Then I arrived, settled in, and opened the topic for the first day: the Obama presidency. I almost laughed out loud. All that stress and the topic I know best fell into my lap. The second day (thème, version, traductologie) went much better than I had hoped as well.
Results from the written exams come out March 18th. In the meantime I’m going all in, hopes up, given the luck I’ve had so far. If it doesn’t work out, I still have my four-year plan, but with a little bit of help from the powers that be, and as much prep as I can make time for, it MIGHT just happen for me sooner than I expected.
Cross your fingers for me please!