CACHE, OK (KSWO) – As school headed back into session in Cache Monday, students and teachers gathered for a teacher walk-in, giving teachers a chance to tell students firsthand about why they decided to walk out and, ultimately, why they felt it was time to come back to class.
Cache Public School teachers marched into the gym Monday morning as every student was on hand to welcome them back. High School Science teacher Paul Runnels spoke to the students, filling them in on the purpose of the walkout.
"We don't want them to be getting second-hand information from somebody else as to why we did it, our motivations for doing it. We wanted to explain to them because we want them to continue to trust us because we love them. We want to keep that positive vibe going in our classrooms, so it was important to us to explain why to them," Runnels said.
Runnels, as well as many other teachers, spent the last two weeks at the capitol, fighting alongside thousands of other teachers from across the state but, he said it felt good to be back in his classroom.
"It felt important to be at the capitol but for me personally, it was almost like I need to get back to work. I have so many things I need my kids to know, that I want to be able to finish teaching them by the end of the semester. It's like the legislators were trying to stop me stopping me from doing my job. I know that's not the case but that's how it felt," Runnels.
Obviously missing two weeks of school has an impact in the classroom, but Runnels said he will do his best to minimize the impact on the students.
"We have kids going into the military, we have kids with scholarships, they're starting internships, jobs. We can't delay their graduation day. It's not fair to them. I'm just going to shorten my lessons, I'm not going to cram more stuff into the like the last few weeks to make their heads explode. I'm actually going to cut out a few things to make everything fit toward the end of the school year," Runnels said.
Despite the walkout being over, Runnels said the fight will not stop. He says Cache will be sending delegates to the capitol to continue to fight for education funding.
"Our presence there reminds them that we're voters and that our opinion matters. It keeps education in the forefront and I think that's important. I think that's very important," Runnels said.