When I was younger, I was very interested in dinosaurs. I noticed that the dinosaurs all had Latin names. This lead me to want to learn Latin.
When I went to my Secondary School, the Latin teacher had just retired. My Mum and Dad rang him up and asked him to teach me. His name was Mr. Slade. Mr. Slade was an old man when he started to teach me. He’d written his own Latin text book and he began to teach me Latin. By this time I wasn’t just interested in dinosaurs, but I wanted to learn the language for its own sake.
I learned a lot more than Latin from Mr. Slade. He taught me a lot about English. I needed to know more about English grammar in order to understand Latin. He also suggested books that I might like to read. He encouraged me to read the most famous books by ancient Roman and Greek authors, as well as some more recent ones. My school teachers were quite surprised when I came into class reading Homer! Probably the most important thing I got from Mr. Slade was my passion for literature. Partly because of reading the classics he’d suggested and partly because we studied Latin poetry for my ‘O’ level, I developed a strong love of literature which inspired me to continue with my studies of English and Latin. I think that Mr. Slade enjoyed teaching me. I was a very enthusiastic pupil, and over the years I learned a lot from him.
When I started my Sixth Form studies, I didn’t see as much of him, because I moved to a school with several Latin teachers, but we still kept in touch from time to time.