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"It's Not About Cheating!"

Ex-Teacher Who Writes Essays for Students Goes to Politics

By Lesley J. VosPublished 7 months ago • 5 min read

Dufton N. is a former teacher for high school students from Galena (Illinois). Inspired by Ed Dante's The Shadow Scholar, he's been in essay writing services since 2014.

"AI" is the word of the year 2023 by Collins Dictionary. The rapid growth of AI tools, including dozens of text generators, reignited a long-standing debate in academia: The issue of academic integrity. It also addressed the need for a new approach to teaching writing skills in light of these new technologies and the future of custom writing services like the one where Dufton works.

On why he doesn't see this job as anything shameful or ethically questionable, on student motivation to work with him instead of ChatGPT, and why things aren't as clear-cut in the niche as most educators think — here is Dufton's message.


"My parents were strict academicians, with my father rising to the rank of an Economics professor. I followed his steps: I got my Bachelor's degree, triggered by a strong passion for knowledge in the niche. I conducted research projects, published articles in peer-reviewed journals, and presented my findings at conferences.

But then, the day X has come:

With such a heavy commitment to the academic world, I decided to try the path of a teacher. Everything looked bright and promising: a noble mission to foster younger generations, devoted students, and thankful parents.

I burned out after two years of my teaching career. It wasn't only about a relatively low salary I didn't expect to get. I started questioning the educational system's integrity: Bureaucracy, curricula and teaching methods stagnation, and often unreasonable resistance to change are just a few red flags that drove me nuts.

Long story short:

The salary wasn't fair, working conditions weren't attractive, and the school looked like the battleground for politics rather than education. It was exactly what Ed Dante addressed in his The Shadow Scholar, a thought-provoking critique of the challenges faced by academia. And it's what serves as driving for the shortage of roughly 300,000 teachers and staff across the U.S. today.

Ed Dante was the one who encouraged me to look at custom essay writing as something that could become a side hustle for a person like me: a teacher, passionate about his subject and ready to share knowledge with mentees willing to get it.

It has been about nine years in Writing-Help, and I do not regret anything.

I am a full-time essay writer, crafting 5-10 orders weekly and making between $500 and $1200. Sure, you can earn more: The salary depends on your workload, required urgency, and the complexity of the assignments you cover (there's a difference between your payment for a high school essay and a dissertation, obviously).

The most often-asked essay types I encounter are research papers and argumentative essays. These are common assignments across various academic disciplines and educational levels.

Okay, I can almost hear you crying:

Why do you work there, encouraging academic integrity violations in students?

This work isn't about cheating or integrity violations.

An average client ordering papers from me is an undergraduate seeking assistance to meet educational requirements and improve their understanding of course materials. Their motivation to do this isn't as distinct as most critics believe. It goes far beyond mere laziness, and most of them aren't rich kids "buying" a degree.

My clients are young people struggling with the pressure to succeed. High expectations from teachers, parents, and the public in general, based on the stereotype that one should perform well in school and college to land a good job and succeed in life, force them to seek assistance to manage their academic results.

They are also those struggling with academic overload. Many just can't physically meet all the strict deadlines and decide to delegate some written tasks to related services. Another motivation is panic: Students feel their knowledge isn't enough to write an A-worthy essay, addressing online services for help. They see me as a tutor who can help them improve their skills and grades.

And I'm a tutor, indeed.

I wouldn't label all forms of academic assistance as cheating.

Students ask for our help, and we help them with services that help them study better. Many use these services as a valuable learning resource, and my objective is to provide support and guidance to help students learn and improve.

I often communicate with clients, and this collaboration is indeed incredible. It involves a seamless exchange of information and ideas, so it looks more like I help them wrap up thoughts and arguments into academic documents their educators require.

Sure, I'd lie if I said I didn't think about the morality of working as an academic writer. Academic dishonesty is a significant concern, and I understand the worries of educational communities.


The AI era has changed the game rules. Today, when every student can generate an essay online in minutes, shall we still see addressing a human writer's assistance as cheating?

The ethical considerations associated with academic writing are more about the intentions behind using such services now. I believe we are like coaches, providing refined ideas and research. It's where ChatGPT and other AI tools fail: They lack recent data, fact-checking, and insightful representation of the topic.

So maybe it's worth working with an experienced online tutor instead of relying on a tool with a limited contextual understanding and failing to explore complex ideas. Students trust me as they understand the drawbacks of AI and how it may hurt their writing and communication skills:

Consider a student who goes to their teacher to ask for help to understand a particular concept. If the teacher assists, would you term that as cheating? That's what I do: I assist students in understanding course materials, so I have no ethical worries about what I do.

The irony is that the academic world seems to "forget" about essay writing services being a threat. They have a new enemy now: AI content, not custom writers' help, which is a severe offense in academic integrity now.

How long do I plan to write essays for students?

I plan to continue as long as it remains sought-after. Sure thing, I understand that I'll retire someday. Actually, I have been involved in helping some people get elected to public offices, and now that politics is in my blood, I can help but imagine that I will soon exit essay writing and pursue a political career."


About the Creator

Lesley J. Vos

Content writer and blogger. Ambitious dreamer and wanderer. Proud guest writer and contributor to blogs on writing and social media. Twitter: @LesleyVos

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