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A Celebrity In My Class

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 29, 2020 02:23

3 users

I had a genuine celebrity as a student in my online class today...

I've met a good number of celebrities and notables in my life. I've given awards to a few at ceremonies; interviewed some for magazines and websites; bumped into others during subway train rides; approached them at festivals; and so on. Most have been pleasant, a tiny fraction were obnoxious.

Today for the first time I taught one.

Among my current gigs is teaching the required New York State driving pre-licensing course, colloquially known as the Five Hour Class. Since August I've taught it online, via Zoom. The night before each session I receive a roster, and I read through it to see if I know anyone.

I came across the name of JA, and chuckled. JA, member of rock bands and a music producer? The songwriter, who's worked with Lana Del Rey, Lorde... and Ms. Swift? Hey, there could be more than one person with that same name.

Well, it was the very same JA, and he was the seventh or eighth person to turn on his screen. I recognized his face. Several minutes later I called the class roster, just by students' first names. But his full name was on his screen. Briefly I wondered if anyone else noticed him. But it didn't seem that way.

I taught the class, and at various junctures I posed questions to the students such as "What do you think is the hardest part of driving?" and "What is the craziest thing you have seen another driver do?" JA was one of several students in this session who participated; he answered some questions, asked a few, and told us he had a New Jersey license but needed a New York one now. (That does jibe with his bio.)

A few other times I waited to see if any other student would ask "Are you THE JA?" or "Hey, what's it like to work with Taylor Swift?" But nope. No one asked him about the Grammy Awards he's won (and the nominations for others).

At the end of the class we all said our good byes, and I did hear JA thank me for teaching. You're welcome!

So... did people just not recognize him? Is he not quite as famous as I'd assumed? Or were the students just chill?

During the short midpoint break in the course, I posted on Facebook "I have a (minor?!) celebrity in my 5 hour course today, a musician. Guess which band." The embarrassing thing is that I got mixed up which band he performed with! A friend corrected me. Another pal posted "He is NOT a minor celebrity. He is big time." 

Mind you, JA was down to earth and his goal, as with the other students, was to sit through a class and get that all-important certificate so as to sign up for a road test. He didn't act like royalty and I'm glad he didn't. 

In NYC you never know when you might interact with a celebrity. And it might not even matter! 

 

 

Ellen Levitt

Posted on December 29, 2020 02:23

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