A level students might like to know of a freely downloadable translation of Amores by A. S. Kline at
From Education Guardian
Francine Stock on her regrets and delights
Interview by Alice Wignall
Tuesday April 3, 2007
I did languages at university and in some ways languages were always my favourite lessons. Literature was always very important to me, but to be honest the language classes at school weren't great. French was rather imposed on us. We had a very sweet sensitive teacher, who was a bit too sensitive for us rather robust girls. I liked him and he was very nice to me but he was so soulful and as a group we were so cruel to him. There was one awful incident when he was standing up on a chair giving a slide show and he fell through the middle bit of the chair! Later on when I was doing my A-levels we would discuss literature and I realised how nice he was and how terrible we'd been to him.
We had a Latin master who was very strict and bad tempered. I clearly remember him hitting a girl on the head with a Latin primer, really hard. I'm surprised he didn't really hurt her. But by the time I went on to do my A-levels, there were only three of us doing Latin and we had a new teacher. She was very young, not long down from Cambridge, and she was great. Her lessons had a very different feel. Sometimes we would even be invited to her house. Imagine that! She was rather glamorous and wore very heavy black eye make-up, and in the holidays would travel to places like Italy and Greece and when she got back would hint at unhappy love affairs. Well, to me, nearer to the gods you could not get. I just thought she was fantastic. Here lessons were very animated and discursive and she also gave me little glimpses of maybe one day having a house of my own and a life of my own in a similar way, and that was very attractive to me.
Another teacher who was very influential in my life was my biology teacher. The classes were so lively and I absolutely loved it. You never got let off the hook; the teacher really wanted you to understand the subject. When I came to choose my A-levels, I felt a real tug between arts and sciences. I really wanted to do biology along with my languages, but in those days you were really made to go in one direction or the other, so I had to drop it, and the Latin I did at A-level allowed me to start Italian from scratch at university.
I enjoyed Oxford. It was fine, but it never really exceeded my expectations. There were an awful lot of very clever people there and I learned almost as much from my fellow students as I did from the tutors. It did bring home the importance of a charismatic tutor and some of them really were great. But I think my favourite moments in education occurred a bit earlier than university.
· Francine Stock is a broadcaster and author who presents the Film Programme on Radio 4. She is a judge for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize administered by Booktrust, for women in publishing