Arlington teacher adjusting to 'new normal' during COVID-19 pandemic

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- Teachers and students are doing all they can to adjust amid a global pandemic.

In Arlington, Nick Brown’s senior English class is learning the history of rock, but it looks very different these days.

While schools are out for the rest of the year, most students are still learning virtually. This presents challenges for both the students and the teachers.

From technology issues to new priorities, teachers like Brown are rising to the occasion and even changing their curriculum to meet the new needs.

Brown has been teaching at Arlington High School for nearly 30 years. He says while it is important to still focus on the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, the world as we know it is changing, and the skills these kids need to come out of this with are as well.

“This is my world, and this is the hardest I have had to figure things out, it’s not physically exhausting, it is just mentally exhausting trying to figure out how to get things done right and work through all of the problems, and I seem to find all of them, whether it is not recording my Zoom lesson, or not turning my volume on," Brown says. "We are looking at things completely different now, and so what kind of skills are these kids getting? I don’t think that’s measurable right now.”

Brown says he always knew what to expect each day before the pandemic. Now, from the way he communicates with students to the information he is sharing with them, everything is different. He says these kids won't have education gaps because they are learning life skills right now, and when this is all over, all of the kids will be on the same playing field.

Brown checks in with each of his students weekly and has face-to-face Zoom lessons with smaller groups instead of trying to teach all 150 of his students at once. He says he is incredibly grateful to have a job right now and have the option to teach.

He says the administrative team and the people still working at the high school are doing all they can to make sure their students remain the  priority.