By Ariel Konieczko
On Monday, April 17th, 2023, a newly hired and extremely credible educator took over one of Beacon High School’s fourth-floor classrooms to fill an unexpected teacher shortage and, as she put it, “knock some sense right into those kids.”
Despite her young age, Gina Pearl Thomas isn’t wary of her last-minute employment. Instead, Ms. GPT is excited to bond with the juniors who fill the seats in her English classes and the freshmen in her advisory class. During an interview held earlier this month, Ms. GPT said, “Some of my supervisors were initially concerned that my students wouldn’t respect me because I’ve never had any teaching experience or training. After all, my stable release date was only a month ago – March 23, 2023.” Ms. GPT can’t wait to prove everyone wrong and said, “I have all the knowledge in the world! Ask me anything…”
Created only a month ago? Capable of possessing all the knowledge in the world? Ms. GPT’s boasting might seem extreme, yet she really is a genius. Ms. GPT isn’t even human: she’s artificial intelligence. Ms. GPT was developed by the research company OpenAI, who first launched “ChatGPT” on November 30, 2022. Within the first five days of its launch, more than 1 million internet users flocked over to test the program.
Surprisingly, other Beacon teachers aren’t intimidated by Ms. GPT’s intellectual greatness. In a survey, only 5% of Beacon teachers claimed to disagree with Ms. GPT’s academic methodology. A full 85% of Beacon teachers are intrigued by Ms. GPT’s new curriculum plan and spontaneously adaptive teaching style, as well as her ability to “perfectly assess and grade a 2,000-word paper in 20 seconds.” Some 10% of Beacon teachers weren’t aware of Ms. GPT’s presence in the building and couldn’t care less.
Ms. GPT claims to have instantly become friends with one interviewed colleague who said, “She’s got a beautiful heart and beautiful mind… or at least appears to have those things!” This colleague, who suggested collaboration between himself and Ms. GPT said, “She can learn the more human side of teaching from me, and I know I’ll learn some math concepts from her.”
In addition to Beacon’s teachers, the entire student body was interviewed on the topic of Ms. GPT’s presence in the building. Underclassman seemed stunned by Ms. GPT and many commented, “I’m just scared to get her next year.” One sobbing freshman said, “I have a phone, a laptop… my AirPods are everything to me… I have all the technology I could ever want! I don’t want a robot teacher!”
On the other hand, upperclassmen are having a blast with Ms. GPT. One senior said, “There’s a new controversy going around plagiarism in light of AI and broken academic integrity. But Ms. GPT is an amazing bot and while I’ll never have her as a teacher, my friends and I sit up in her classroom every day during our lunch band and just chill out.”
A junior, who has Ms. GPT for F band English, lovingly said during an interview, “Can I be Ms. T’s TA next year?” While Ms. GPT won’t need any teaching assistants, she took the comment to heart.
So, what does Ms. GPT’s classroom look like if she isn’t a tangible person?
“When you walk in, the lights are off, which is super relaxing,” one of Ms. GPT’s students said. All of Ms. GPT’s students sit spaced out at little individual desks that face the SmartBoard screen at the front of the room. “At the beginning of each band, Principal Brady pops into the classroom to insert Ms. T’s hard drive into the SmartBoard and then, we all attentively watch as she takes over the screen and speaks to us through double speakers.” Ms. GPT knows each student’s unique appearance with help from facial recognition technology and has a catalog of each child’s voice.
“This whole arrangement is so futuristic,” one junior said. “I feel like I’m in a science fiction movie.” The smiling student added, “It’s not scary because in Ms. T’s class, we have loads of fun. Like, I don’t even care that she has a strand of my DNA on file. I don’t really mind that she inserts chips into the arms of unruly students as a way to track them during school hours.”
Beacon’s principal and other school officials don’t have plans to introduce more AI into the school’s teaching body. A Department of Education superintendent said, “Ultimately, this is all a big trial. Everyone can agree that human teachers are the best but sometimes, in a labor shortage, AI is happy to step in.” The superintendent continued, “Ms. GPT is always happy to be our superhero and thank goodness our students are always optimistic and up for the challenge!”