Our day out.

Essay by smeelypants March 2009

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In this essay I shall be comparing two characters in the popular 20th century drama play ‘Our Day Out’. It is written by Willie Russell and is based around a school trip from Inner city Liverpool to Conway Castle, Wales. The general plot is how a teacher, Mr Briggs', attitude towards the pupils changes. It is about his conversations with Mrs Kay, as both frequently disagree with each other and always believe they speak for the great majority. Mr Briggs doesn't care what the children's opinions are, and just wants to educate them so that they will go as far in life as they can. He has a reputation as a strict teacher and has been sent by the head teacher to ‘try and keep things in some kind of order’ which gives me the impression that even the head teacher has no respect for Mrs Kay's teaching methods.

Firstly, I am going to describe Mrs Kay’s and Mr Briggs’s relationship with the pupils. Mrs Kay is a very easy-going teacher. She is a mature woman aged around fifty. She draws from her many years of experience working with children well, and her general attitude is very laid back. Mrs Kay thinks the children should be allowed freedom and enjoys being on the same level as them having a friendly attitude and a laugh with them. Mr Briggs is the opposite of Mrs Kay. Mr Briggs is very strict and cross. He is a lot more formal with the children and believes that shouting at them and disciplining them is important because they were ‘born rejects’, so Mr Briggs is trying to get them somewhere in life. Firstly, I am going to describe Mrs Kay’s and Mr Brigg’s relationship with the pupils. Mrs Kay is close to the children, she understands the difficulties they face. She is warm and friendly and is funny and witty and enjoys laughing with them. Therefore I feel she would have a better relationship with the children. A quote from Reilly is ‘Your Ace Miss!’ Mrs Kay is a kind and sympathetic person. Mr Briggs comes across as a man with no social life, as at the end of the prose he rejects the offer to go out with Mr Kay, Susan and Colin as he had to continue with ‘work’, he also destroyed the camera film so there was no proof he had fun.

Secondly, I intend to explore both teachers’ opinions about disciplines. Mrs Kay has a strong belief in the children having a lot of freedom ‘ooh…leave them…They’ll want to stretch their legs and let off a bit of stream’. Her Idea of the class trip was so they could have fun, as they come from underprivileged family’s they are left to basically fend for themselves and to go the Wales was a massive change in atmosphere. Mr Kay has a lot of trust in the children. Mr Briggs on the other hand is not nearly as able to trust the children, whom have learned disabilities and refuses to sit and learn the recommended mended curriculum. Yet he is unaware of the terrible lives in which only some live e.g. Andrews, him and his father row over Andrews’s cigarettes. Mr Briggs doesn’t believe the children should have any freedom on the duration of the trip as when they visited the zoo the children stole the animals from the ‘Children Zoo’. I believe they are both wrong as they should not be aloud as much freedom, yet they should be aloud to wonder of with the company of a staff member.

Thirdly, I am going to look at Mrs Kay’s and Mr Briggs opinions about the point of school trips. Mrs Kay’s opinion on the point of school trips varies an extreme amount from Mr. Briggs’. She thinks that whenever they go on a trip they should have fun and try to enjoy themselves as much as possible, as there home lives are depressing and very underprivileged compared to people around the world, we know they there as at the beginning of the prose in the stage directions it claims they live in ‘The streets’ of ‘inner-city’ ‘Liverpool’. Mrs Kay knows that the chances are that in their later lives they won’t amount to much and during the rest of that time they will not have nearly has much fun and will regret these times and wished they did things differently. This is why she wants them to enjoy themselves. She thinks that if the have a good time now that in the future they won’t regret anything. Mr. Briggs however, thinks the point of school trips is for it to give them a non-fun educated day. The reason you come to school, he thinks, is only to learn and is not to develop social skills. It seems he doesn’t even want them to develop with him.

In conclusion Mrs Kay’s and Mr Briggs’ view on teaching the progress class are very different, neither one or the other are better, as to excel in teaching you need a fair balance of the two, yet to much of one could end up being to strict or to soft on the children. The children themselves would benefit from having someone telling them what do with a bit of discipline unlike Mrs Kay who would never dream of raising her voice at the children; she treats the pupils as her very own children.