A Response to Dumbledore’s Teacher Choices

by Dan Herman

I read Erik Zeegers’ editorial on Dumbledore’s teaching selections. I, for the most part, agree. He is, without a doubt, the most qualified person in the wizarding world that we have met so far, as well as an extremely efficient administrator. Nor do I disagree with Erik when he pegs Lockhart, Hagrid, and Trelawney as horrible teachers. However, I think that Dumbledore’s reasonings were not thoroughly explored, and I would like to delve a little deeper.

As far as Hagrid goes, one must take care to look at the relationships in the magical universe. Yes, Hagrid does have the knowledge while Grubby-Plank has the teaching skills, but Hagrid also has something much deeper going for him: trust. Hagrid has, on numerous occassions, shown himself to be trustworthy far and above the normal call of duty, and loyal to Dumbledore to a fault. Dumbeldore needs Hagrid around for the constant companionship and “secret” missions he is sent on (envoy to the giants, retrieving the sorcerer’s stone, and the like).

Gilderoy Lockhart is a horrible teacher, a liar and a fraud. However, you are sorely mistaken if you think that Dumbledore is a poor judge of character and think that he merely read Lockhart’s books and believed them. Rather, there was no one else who wanted the job! Snape would be the only other candidate that he could choose, and he apparently has his own reasons for not wanting Snape to be the DADA teacher. Lockhart was chosen as a simple matter of convenience.

Trelawney is a fraud, but she did hit the jackpot with the prophecy in the Hog’s Head, so Dumbledore has to keep her around. I think one of the main flaws in reasoning is that Dumbledore merely wants the young witches/wizards to get a good education. As we all have learned, book-learning can only lead you so far, and Dumbeldore is more interested in a useful education rather than just facts. He must keep Trelawney around, though, in case she pops out another prophecy on accident (as she did in PoA).

Quirrell… An interesting man to say the least, but nowhere in Book 1 does it say that Quirrell’s first year teaching was Harry’s first year of learning. Rather, I believe that Quirrell was a returning teacher, and had found Voldemort on an excursion to the Albanian forest. Dumbledore wouldn’t necessarily know that Quirrell was a bad person, since Voldemort would obviously be an accomplished Occlumens. Moody/Crouch is along the same lines, since Dumbledore had no reason to doubt that it was the true Moody.

As for Dumbledore trusting too much, Erik begins to sound like Ron when he wonders why Dumbledore keeps Snape around. Dumbledore has his reasons, as we are often reminded. I think that Dumbledore’s biggest flaw is caring too much, as opposed to remaining a conscientious, fair and unbiased observer.