Secretly Famous Students

Do you watch local language television or news where you are? Thanks to DVDs, I don’t. And even when I can understand the local language well enough to get something out of it – if not a full understanding – English language alternatives are plentiful enough that I usually take advantage of them.

One funny result of this, though, is that I don’t realize it if I have a famous student…and I’ve taught a few. One had a recurring role on a local tv show but I didn’t realize it until I happened to see her on that show. She was also apparently a journalist, which is probably what she told the class about herself in the getting to know each other stage. If any of them realized she was also an actress, they didn’t announce it or furtively whisper that to me after class so I would know.

The most surprising secretly famous student, in fact the one who inspired this post, was a white-haired gentleman who didn’t really fit in with the class of teenagers.

I once spotted him being interviewed on a local news program, but the real surprise came much later when I realized he represented one country in the region in a case against another at the UN International Court of Justice in the Hague. Who knew? I knew he was a lawyer working in that area but was still surprised to find out the extent of it more recently.

It probably shouldn’t matter to me – I like average students just as much as I like famous ones, and I would like to think knowing wouldn’t have made any difference in the way I dealt with these people in class. Everyone deserves to be taught well. It’s interesting to me too that these students did not really seem to regard themselves as “above” the rest of us…I think I would have noticed that. But I guess it goes to show you never really know who you are teaching.