Teacher Bev's X hits the spot

2nd November 2007 at 00:00
Most heads would not be best pleased if their Year 6 teacher left the classroom three weeks into a new term. But every weekend, Linda Crick desperately hopes she will not see Beverley Trotman in school on Monday morning.

Mrs Trotman, Y6 teacher at Icknield Primary in Luton, Bedfordshire, is better-known to viewers of The X Factor television talent show as a ballad singer. This week her rendition of a Whitney Houston song won approval from the judges - even notoriously dismissive producer Simon Cowell described her performance as amazing.

Mrs Crick agrees. She watched Saturday's performance through eyes half-shut with vicarious nervousness.

"Bev's wonderful," she said. "And on Saturday we saw the real Bev shine through - the personality and depth and feeling she has. We're missing her terribly, but we're keeping our fingers crossed. All the kids and staff are voting for her."

Mrs Trotman, who has children aged 10 and 12, was originally a teaching assistant at Icknield. But after studying for a degree part-time, she eventually decided to train as a teacher, completing the graduate teacher programme at the school.

Then, three weeks into the new school year, she found out she had qualified as an X Factor finalist.

"Obviously, it has its problems, especially with Y6 going into Sats," said Mrs Crick. "But this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I thought, 'If an opportunity like that came along for me, how would I feel about it?'

"Bev is very committed to the children and she absolutely loves teaching. She brings out the best in children. Even the boys think she's cool and chic."

Talitha Gravesande, 11, has been following her teacher's progress avidly. "It's sort of weird seeing your teacher on telly," she said. "When the judges weren't nice to her it was like seeing her being told off."

But the pupils looked up to her even before TV fame.

Nadim Chowdhury, 11, said: "She's always telling us how we can do stuff for ourselves. So it's great that she's doing something for herself. It inspires you to try things, too. Sometimes I just wish I could shout out to people that she's our teacher and she's on TV."

From stars of the classroom to reality-TV celebrities

Big Brother

Penny Ellis from London appeared in the second series. Her 15 minutes of fame came when her towel slipped as she stepped out of the shower, providing an instant education for many pre-watershed viewers. As a result, Channel 4 introduced a delay in its live broadcasts, and Ms Ellis was fired from her teaching job.

How To Look Good Naked

Nude images of Emma Wright, who worked at a pound;7,000-a-year private school, were projected on to the side of Waterloo station for the makeover programme How To Look Good Naked in August 2006. The Channel 4 series aimed to boost women's confidence by highlighting their assets. The Girls' Day School Trust said it supported this goal wholeheartedly.

Bollywood Star

Rivona Essop, a 23-year-old dance and drama teacher from Hampshire, was one of the six semi-finalists in this Channel 4 talent show. But the teacher-turned-pupil misbehaved repeatedly, clashing with her acting coach. When the judges voted her out, she claimed it was "a violation of my human rights".

The Nightmares Next Door

Simon Warr was already a reality-TV veteran when he appeared on this Channel 4 series. The Ipswich classics teacher had previously been seen enforcing strict classroom discipline in the 1950s-schooling experiment, That'll Teach 'Em. Here his own behaviour was under scrutiny, as one of the nightmare neighbours moved into a purpose-built Dorset village.

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