Conversation Assistant Todd Fogle

Meet Todd Fogle

Todd ESL Teacher in Rome

Todd enjoys a trip to Rome, Italy

Todd Fogle is an English Conversation Assistant in Huelva, Spain. He has taken advantage of his year in Spain to travel to various parts of the country and to other countries in Europe too.

Tell us Todd, why did you decide to teach English and why did you choose to teach English in Spain?

I started teaching English because of the Auxiliares de Conversación Program offered to native English Speakers. I came to Spain with a desire to help the students learn English while learning about Spain’s culture and language also. And of course there was the aspect of travel. When I originally applied, I planned to travel all over Spain and Europe while I was here.

Where do you teach in Spain and how did you find your teaching job?

I teach at IES Juan Antonio Pérez Mercader in Corrales, Huelva. It is located about 10 minutes from the city center of Huelva city which is in the Southwestern part of Andalucía.

How many hours a week do you work and what is your monthly salary?

I am scheduled for 12 hours per week, but it really varies from week to week how much actual work there is. I am only scheduled for six hours of classes each week and sometimes, as an assistant, I am told I do not need to prepare anything for some classes. I earn 700 euros per month.

Was being able to travel a main factor in deciding to teach English in Spain?

Travel was a huge factor in my decision. My primary reason was to have the experience of living abroad in another culture, including a language barrier. Although I studied Spanish for three years at Conway High School (Conway, AR, USA) and then for another three years to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Spanish at Arkansas State University, when I arrived to Spain I soon realized how little I knew. But I also learned quickly, which was my primary reason for applying in the first place. Travel was also a major benefit.

What cities and countries have you been able to travel to while teaching in Spain?

As of May 2012 I have been able to travel to the following places while teaching in Spain:

  • London, England
  • Salisbury, England
  • Rome, Italy
  • Venice, Italy
  • Gibraltar
  • Within Spain: Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Palos de la Frontera (Huelva), Salamanca, Santiago de Compostella, Cádiz and La Línea de la Concepción 

Fantastic! What countries are next on your list for travel while teaching?

Unfortunately, because I only have one more month of teaching, the United States will most likely me my next country to visit outside of Spain. However, if I get the chance to travel in the coming weeks I would like to visit Morocco and Portugal. I would still really like to see parts of Germany and Paris and a little more of Italy, but I know I’ve run out of time.

Is teaching in order to travel worth it? Would you recommend it to others?

Would I recommend teaching just to travel? Probably not. I mean, obviously, there needs to be a desire to help the students. If that isn’t there then there is no “teaching” about it. I personally have found it hard to travel as much as I desired. I work four days per week and get three-day weekends. I live an hour and fifteen minutes away from the nearest city with an airport. Once I arrive to that city, it is a 20 minute walk to the station to catch a bus to the airport and a 30 minute ride to the airport. I usually get off work at 1 p.m. on Fridays. Therefore it is generally 4 p.m. before I can arrive to the airport, not to mention dealing with Ryanair stuff and getting through security to catch a flight. So it is late when I arrive on a Friday night, and I would have to fly back on a Monday evening early enough to catch a bus back to the city of Huelva. However, there are usually long bus rides of 8-15 hours which one can opt for if they feel up to it. They are cheaper than flights, I guess. Travel within the country is much easier than flying internationally. First and foremost are the students. Second, enjoy the culture that you are living in– learn it. Learn the language too. Thirdly, travel when you have the time.

Todd Fogle is a 2011 graduate of Arkansas State University who majored in Journalism and Spanish. You can view more of his experiences from Spain where he observes cultural differences, language and travel on his Spain blog.

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