Artificial Not So Intelligent

Dr. Dad Bod
3 min readFeb 17


Mendacious. Salubrious. Defenestrate.

I actually know what these words mean because I am a high school English teacher and have been for 30 years. Over that much time, and given that much exposure to all forms of literature, you eventually come across odd words and look them up.

These rare words then become something you sort of assimilate into your lexicon, and people hear you say them and think you are brighter than you actually are.

It’s a pretty good deal, really.

But, my 30 years of experience have also allowed me a surfeit of other insights and one of those is that high school seniors do NOT know these words.

That’s why, when my seniors turned in a bunch of essays with absurdly amplified vocabulary words recently, I figured out with celerity that I was looking at the opening salvo of what is destined to be a relentless stream of ChatGPT generated essays.

I get it.

We are in the second semester, the weather has decided that it is spring already, and these kids who go to bed with visions of graduation parties and beach week dancing in their craniums acquiesced to the siren’s song of using undetectable technology in order to foist bombastic essays about Macbeth onto their salty old teacher who is trying to resuscitate them from their senior slumps and drag them across the finish line.

It’s not going too well.

At this point, I suppose I should say that not ALL of my students resorted to AI. There were many, many of them who decided they weren’t going to do the essay at all and instead would rely upon the power of the 50 point zero and the rolling grade book to salvage their grade and ward off the mythical “We are withdrawing your acceptance letter” from whichever college accepted them. Others still did a very good job of writing what I believe to be their own essays, and many of that group got the grades they wanted and the grades they deserved.

The AI kids also got what they deserved- a whole boatload of 70 percents- which equates to a C-. I know, many readers are probably thinking “If you know they essentially cheated, why did they pass at all?”.

Well, that’s because if someone turns in NOTHING they get a 50. That fact really puts the squeeze on us, but the grading universe is further complicated now because I cannot prove they cheated. CHATGTP is capable of producing unique essays completely dependent on what the student asks for. If the words are even slightly different, the essays will be different, and they won’t exist anywhere that I can find them and confront the student.

All of this probably sounds like a sledgehammer to teaching the skill of writing, and it may turn out to be, BUT for now at least the computer generated essays sucked.

I mean it, they were bad. Not only did they have words in them that were completely beyond most of the students, but they also lacked flow, weren’t cohesive, didn’t include quotations, and basically read like instruction manuals rather than insightful essays.

So, for now, it looks like the people who program ChatGtp are going to have to do a better job of teaching the computers to write so people don’t have to .

I am not being mendacious. I think this emerging technology might be salubrious if we can figure out how to work with it and not against it. It may even have the unexpected benefit of causing us to defenestrate the traditional educational playbook and rewrite it!



Dr. Dad Bod

I am a husband, father, teacher, and soccer coach, and aspiring writer residing in Northern Virginia. More than anything, I love having fun and pushing myself!