Thanks for the job security, ChatGPT

If you teach language and literacy for a living, I bet you had at least one moment recently where you thought you’d be put out of work by a bot.

I did, too. But only one. (Okay, maybe two.)

For sure, bots are here to stay. Educators are using AI to get a leg up on lesson plans, instructional materials, and mentor texts. Why wouldn’t students use the same hack to get a leg up on their essays? 

With AI at everyone’s fingertips, educators must re-examine how they teach writing and what they want students to learn about written language.  

I welcome that, honestly.  

I agree with Seth Godin, who imagines a better future for students with AI. One where class time is spent engaging them in deep discussion about what they’ve learned and read. One where they are challenged to “take initiative, to question the arguments of others, to do the reading, and to create.” These are the skills they need to compete in today’s job market.

Without a command of language for reading, understanding, and contributing to healthy debate and discussion, students don’t have a chance in that world. 

ChatGPT may be a Godsend for the 7-10% of students who come into the world wired to struggle with language in all its forms. It just may give them the edge they need to compete with their peers who don’t. 

But ChatGPT has no soul, no morals, and no ethics. It can’t think for itself or form unique opinions that are shaped by personal values. It can’t give students the skills they need for social connection and working with others to tackle the important problems in their communities and the world. 

To do those things – to listen, read, reason, think critically, and express themselves effectively – they need language. And to become facile with it, students need teachers who know how to teach in a way that clicks for them. They need our help now more than ever. 

In my view, ChatGPT doesn’t threaten our job security. 

It solidifies it.