How Favoritism Completely Derailed a Brilliant Teacher (Professor Slughorn)

Guest post by Trevor Muir

This is the second in the Seven Best Teachers at Hogwarts series.

The potions professor who had a secret society made up of his favorite students. Where Voldem— Tom Riddle learned about Horcruxes, and Harry had to steal brain juice from.
Ol’ professor Slughorn was not the best teacher, but he wasn’t awful either, and that’s why he is number 7 on our list.

Let’s start with the good. Slughorn knew how to motivate his students and inspire them to work hard and with diligence. He incentivized engagement and made hard work pay off.

He recognized greatness and could make his students feel proud about their work. When Harry demonstrated his prowess at the potion-making table- cheater- Slughorn recognized him publicly, even giving him a reward for his effort. Good teachers make hard work worth it, and Slughorn’s students strived to achieve these rewards.

He wasn’t that kind of teacher who demands to be the center of attention, making his time in the classroom all about him. Instead, he liked to inspire greatness. Dumbledore said it best, “He enjoys the feeling that he influences people. He has never wanted to occupy the throne himself. He prefers the backseat.”

Great teachers make their students great. Slughorn did this.

He was also an experienced master of his subject area and used his vast experience to challenge his students to achieve new heights.

Now, he also played favorites. I asked my students their least favorite things teachers sometimes do, and almost everyone said it’s when a teacher plays favorites. Slughorn had a secret club for kids he liked best, and largely ignored the kids who didn’t make it in.

Not cool, and this, along with teaching Tom Riddle how to achieve immortality, keeps ole’ Horace Slughorn at number 7 of Hogwarts greatest teachers.

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.

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One response

  1. Hello,
    I absolutely love reading your writings. I have learned so much from them. I also believe that having relationships with your students is very important. Relationships allow for a direct channel to the heart and then to the head.

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