Tulsa Teacher Who Biked To Capitol Pedals On For His Students
TULSA, Oklahoma - One year after teachers across the state rallied at the Capitol for change, many of them are looking back on how far they've come.
Some teachers drove, others walked and one even rode his bike all the way from Tulsa.
It took Booker T. High School teacher Matthew Williams about seven hours to ride from here to the Capitol on his bike.
"People were thinking it was nuts, but really I think what was nuts and what was crazy was the way we've so underfunded education in this state," said Williams when we spoke with him one year ago at the capitol.
He set out on his 116 mile journey on April 2nd, 2018, the first day of the walkout.
"Starting off the ride, I was really excited to get going then reality starts to set in when you’re 20-30 miles in and you realize you are in it for the long haul," said Williams, reflecting on his ride.
Williams says he specifically remembers hitting the town of Luther and riding south into a strong headwind.
He says in that moment, he really wanted to quit, but didn’t.
"You just keep moving, you just keep doing the best you can and then eventually you arrive," said Williams.
Williams says now he realizes how similar this bike ride was to the journey Oklahoma teachers are on every day.
“Start off with so much excitement, reality starts to set in, and then they start to ware down,” said Williams.
After his seven-hour trip, and nine days rallying at the capitol with thousands of educators last year, we asked him if the ride was worth it.
"I feel like I've wasted nine days. I feel like that bike ride, everything, was all for not. Because we haven't gotten what we needed,” said Williams.
Now one year later, Williams says his class sizes haven't changed, but what has changed for him is how he approaches the classroom.
“I feel like my role at the moment is like Booker T. said himself, to cast down my bucket where I am and to work as hard as I can and to do the best I can in the circumstances I’m in,” said Williams.
Pedaling on for his students.
“It’s a long journey and a long effort, and I continue to just pedal away at that,” said Williams.