Sunday, February 6, 2011

Back to Paris?

Sometime in the past year, it became clear that French has a permanent place not only in my life, but in my career. And so does teaching. My current high school teaching job is for the most part an incredibly positive experience, which proves among other things that the older my students the better. It feels much more natural teaching teenagers than it did 6-11 year olds. What I really see myself doing, though, is teaching at the university level.

So why the sudden blog update? Well, I of course need a Master's, if not a doctorate, to begin teaching at a university. A few days ago, I received a very exciting email. I've been accepted into Middlebury! I've applied to IU Bloomington and Purdue, which are closer to home, but... an MA with Middlebury could mean returning to Paris for a year in September.

I thought that merited a blog update. :) We'll see.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


We've been back a month already? Incroyable!

I sincerely hope to "finish" my blog. I want to write and share about the rest of our experience. I never wrote about Germany (either trip!), and I didn't finish writing about English in the French classroom.

But now, tomorrow in fact, I am embarking on a new type of adventure already. I, Katie A, who was "never going to teach because there's so much more you can do with French," has taught for 7 months in France and will now teach French for a semester at a high school in Indiana. How did this happen? I don't have time to tell you! I haven't had time to think. Life has gone by so quickly this past month. Tomorrow, I meet my six classes of 9th-12th graders.

C'est parti! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Results are in!

We've been back in the good ol' USA for a week now. We're slowly unpacking and I'm looking for a job. Up to this point, we've been readjusting pretty well but missing France like crazy. But this is for another blog post (that is, if I manage to keep writing like I want to. In fact, there are a lot of posts that are in my head that haven't made it to the blog.)

Today I want to share some great news I received upon our return. This may be an extra vain blog post, but please allow me this brief self-indulgence. I'm pretty excited about it. When my dad handed over 10 months worth of mail, he also gave me an envelope sent priority mail from France. What could it be? Nothing other than my Test de Connaissance du Français (TCF) results!

I took the TCF on June 21, after being in France for over 9 months. I set a reasonable goal of placing at C1 (level 5 of 6). But as I studied and took a prep class at the ASLC (which I recommend), I started to worry. A friend told me of an American she knew, a French degree barer I believe, who was really confident and then placed really low, level 2 or 3 I think. Since I continue to struggle with self-doubt, I began to worry. I knew If I placed lower than level 4, I'd be crushed. What would 9 months of immersion mean then?

Sitting at my dad's dining room table, I opened the envelope, not realizing what it was at first.


TCF - Test de connaissance du français

Oh! Oh! It's my score!


Katherine Ann

blah blah blah

Résultat global: 590 points, niveau C1 du CECR


So, I reached my goal, and I was only 10 points away from C2 (level 6, the highest).

For anyone interested, here's the breakdown of the scoring.
Niveau C1, 500 à 599 points

Bonne maîtrise de la langue. La personne peut comprendre une grande gamme de textes longs et exigeants comportant des contenus implicites. Elle s’exprime couramment et de façon bien structurée sur sa vie sociale, professionnelle ou académique et sur des sujets complexes.

Level C1, 500 to 599 points
Advanced Level

Good operational command of the language. Can understand a wide range of long and demanding texts and can recognize implicit meaning. Can express himself or herself fluently in a well-structured way on his or her social, professional or academic life and on complex topics.


The TCF scoring is based on European standards and the test composed of 5 examination sections, 3 of which are compulsory if you register, and 2 which you can pay extra to take. I, of course, took all 5. The compulsory sections are Reading, Grammatical Structures, and Listening. The extras are writing and speaking.

I placed in C1 overall and in each section, except one: speaking. I expected to place lower in this section. Speaking really is the most challenging of all for me. But...I placed in C2. It's curious, really. This part involved a 15 minute recorded interview with 6 questions, that went from super easy to difficult. I'm happy, but I'm not sure I agree. I wish the results came with comments or corrections, but it's just a single sheet with scores.

This is another thing I can check off of my "want to do in France" list! I plan to continue listening, reading, writing, and speaking as much as possible, right here in Anderson. In fact, we just switched to AT&T U-Verse so we can watch the French channel TV5 Monde.

Maybe I'll take the test again in a few years, with a C2 (upper advanced level) in all sections being the goal!