For our number one choice, we went with someone who is not actually a professor at Hogwarts.
You guessed it. Argus Filch. That’s right, the mangy, angry caretaker of Hogwarts. You know, the guy with the cat?
Okay, we didn’t choose Filch.
We actually chose Harry.
Harry was a phenomenal teacher. When he trained fellow students in Dumbledore’s Army, we saw some of the best teaching in the entire series. Note that Harry is not a great student and honestly the biggest academic lessons he learned were due to the brilliant and strong Hermione Granger.
But Harry is actually a great teacher.
He knows how to motivate students to go beyond the textbook. He reminds them that there is more to life than passing the OWLS. Watch how he works with students who are frustrated and angry and then builds a community that celebrates success and learns from mistakes. That’s a pretty awesome classroom culture.
Harry’s teaching is driven by his student’s curiosity, rather than just what he deems important. It’s always practical and deeply personal as each member learns from one another.
Harry proves that the term “guide on the side” doesn’t mean being passive or weak. It means you’re listening, encouraging, and offering help when needed. It’s about trust and relationships.
Dumbledore’s Army reminds us that amazing things happen when students get a chance to own the learning. These are the moments that empower students to change their world.
I remember when I was reading the first Harry Potter books for the first time, I thought Harry would eventually become the most powerful wizard in the world and finally become the wizard-superhero everyone wanted. But that didn’t happen. Harry’s greatness was in his ability to inspire others. He taught Ron that he was special, Hermione that she was courageous, Neville that he is capable, the whole wizarding world that good can defeat evil.
Harry was a teacher and some would say that is the best kind of hero.
Or was it actually Hermione?
We chose Harry as number one because of the brilliant way that he taught students inside of Dumbledore’s Army. But I’ve been rethinking this all day.
The truth is the real hero of the entire Harry Potter series is Hermione Granger. She was the one who formed Dumbledore’s Army. She was the one who solved every major mystery they faced. When Harry got lazy or lost confidence, she kept going. When Ron became insecure, she remained steady. When Neville was a lost and lonely kid, she befriended him.
Hermione proved that being bookish and being courageous were not mutually exclusive. And this often led to an intentional, well-reasoned courage that others in the series lacked. She spoke out against injustice toward house elves even when fellow witches and wizards mocked her. And yet, when they were hunting Horcruxes, she provided all the defensive charms. Both of these moments required courage — as did the moment that she used the memory charm on her parents and lost them in a way that was every bit as tragic as Harry.
So maybe the number one choice isn’t Harry at all. Maybe it’s Hermione. Maybe she is the heroic teacher who shows the entire wizarding world what it means to be wise and courageous and kind.
Maybe it was Hermione all along.
This post is also available on my Creative Classroom podcast. If you’re someone who enjoys listening to podcasts on the way to work, this might be a great way to “read” my blog. (Note: if you enjoy the podcast, please feel free to leave a review on iTunes or Google Play). You can also listen to it below: