It’s been tremendously difficult, but here’s our ranking of the Hogwarts professors based on which classrooms we’d most like to sneak into. And note, we’ve only counted professors we’ve actually seen in action in the books and films – so no Professor Kettleburns or Armando Dippets, but we have counted Albus Dumbledore as we saw him teaching in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
And one last quick note – we’ve not included Defence Against the Dark Arts professors in this list because... there were an awful lot of them, so many, that they get their own list here.
As for the rest...
‘They like punishment, the Carrows.’
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Well, yeah. The cruel Death Eater sibling was hardly going to rank highly here. We never properly saw the Carrows teach, after they were installed in Hogwarts during Lord Voldemort’s ascent in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, but we heard awful stories from Neville about their ‘teaching style’. While one taught Defence Against the Dark Arts (hence why they’re not mentioned here), the other taught Muggle Studies of all things, which was used as an excuse to torture the students. Thank Merlin Voldemort was thwarted before their reign could last much longer.
Oh, poor Professor Binns, a teacher so immersed in his subject, History of Magic, that he still pursued his teachings even after he died. No offence to Professor Binns, who seemed relatively harmless, and definitely knows his stuff, but the fact that Harry and his fellow classmates often used the lesson as an excuse for a little nap says it all, really.
As ever, analysing Snape in any sort of way is complicated. On the one hand, there’s no mistaking Snape’s exceptional skills in Potions and his fascination with the subject. His grandiose speech about ‘brewing glory’ and ‘stoppering death’ showed just how in tune with Potions he really was. But from bullying students to threatening toads to docking house points for arbitrary reasons, there’s no excuse for such behaviour. Snape was also known to use his lessons to settle personal grudges, such as when he took over Defence Against the Dark Arts to subtly try and hint to the class that his childhood rival, Professor Lupin, was a werewolf.
Another Potions professor with ulterior motives – next up is Professor Slughorn. Slughorn is another tricky teacher to figure out – his love of potions and knowledge were obvious, and his Felix Felicis class was genuinely fascinating. But his constant favouring of famous or gifted students wasn’t setting a good example – and sometimes he seemed more interested in his Slug Club parties than anything else. After all, this is the man that taught a young Tom Riddle about Horcruxes, just to seem impressive in class...
Of course, Divination is not a subject for everyone, and Trelawney’s placement in this list really depends on whether you appreciate her craft – or just think it’s ‘woolly’ like Hermione did. Trelawney herself was a pretty tactless teacher at times too, regularly upsetting class members, such as predicting Harry’s untimely demise, and even taking out her Seer ‘abilities’ on Lavender Brown’s poor pet rabbit, Binky. There was also the issue that her skills of going ‘into the beyond’ were quite unpredictable at times, and even Professor Dumbledore was unsure of her.
Firenze the centaur took over Divination after Sybil Trelawney lost her post during Umbridge’s tenure – with the Divination classroom being transformed into a forest-type setting to make Firenze feel more at home. We didn’t see much of Firenze’s teaching style, but it looked like it involved a lot of lying down and gazing at the stars, which is fine by us.
Hagrid’s new assignment as Care of Magical Creatures professor was, of course, a joyous thing – and Harry and co. were thrilled for him to be taking on a job where he got to celebrate his love of fantastic beasts. Now, as much as we love Hagrid, some of the gamekeeper’s taste in beasts for a school curriculum was less than fantastic, often exposing his rather young students to ridiculously dangerous animals, such as the Blast-Ended Skrewts, and setting the class a book that attacks them... and also, all those Flobberworms, Hagrid!
Sorry, Hagrid... if only there had been less Flobberworms. Professor Grubbly-Plank was Hagrid’s no-nonsense substitute teacher, who popped in every time Hagrid was indisposed. Annoyingly, Grubbly-Plank did present very fascinating magical creatures, such as introducing the students to Bowtruckles and Unicorns. Hagrid may have had far more heart, but professionally-speaking, Grubbly-Plank just tips it.
Wonderfully dishevelled Professor Sprout is a Hogwarts staple for a reason, and pretty much everything we could want from a Hogwarts professor. She had heart, warmth, but a strictness when needed, and a genuine love of nurturing nature. Her expertise in all sorts of amazing magical flora and fungi made her lessons progressively more remarkable as the years went along, especially when we got to the more dangerous plants in Greenhouse Three. All this, and her sterling turnout at the Battle of Hogwarts (where she came armed with exploding Snargaluff Pods) showed that you don’t need a wand to explore the phenomenon of magic – sometimes just look at the soil beneath you.
Trust us, this top four are all so fantastic in their own way: we consider them all equally ranked. Kindly Professor Flitwick is certainly on par with Professor Sprout, sharing her whimsical nature and genuine joy of magical learning. Without Professor Flitwick, we would never have learnt the iconic spell Wingardium Leviosa, and so many other fantastic charms. He was also just wonderfully encouraging as a teacher, generous with house points, and wasn’t averse to letting his class have a bit of fun every now and then. Who needs a Cheering Charm when Professor Flitwick’s around?
Albus Dumbledore, of course, is a Hogwarts legend who left his mark on the school in so many wonderful ways, always putting kindness first and shaping the whole character of Hogwarts. In essence, there aren’t enough kind things we can say about Dumbledore. Now, as an actual teacher, we didn’t see Dumbledore teach much in the Harry Potter books, but in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, we saw his younger self teach a Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson. It was everything we expected of Dumbledore as a teacher: cheeky, funny, caring, understanding, with a moral to learn at the end. As a headmaster, he was always teaching, and we soaked up Dumbledore’s endless wisdom every time he spoke – but oh, to see more of him in the classroom atmosphere.
It’s been a tough journey, but our number one spot goes to the formidable, wonderful, fierce Professor McGonagall. The Transfiguration professor was a fountain of knowledge in her subject and carried out her teachings with grace and a fair dose of strictness. Despite her stiff-upper-lip attitude, she also had a softer side, such as encouraging Neville after his disappointing exam results, and offering Harry a biscuit during times of strife. Although she always kept it professional, McGonagall had a sassy side lurking underneath that tight bun – proving herself to be an accomplished and iconic teacher forever.
Honourable mentions to...
Madam Hooch: we only encountered Hooch for one flying lesson, but it certainly was eventful...
Charity Burbage: she tragically lost her life at the hands of Voldemort and the Death Eaters, pinpointed for teaching Muggle Studies.
Professor Sinistra: who taught Astronomy
Professor Vector: who taught Arithmancy, known as one of the more difficult Hogwarts classes, so must have been a smart one.
Do you think our rankings were fair? Are you a staunch Hagrid fan through and through and are now very cross at us? We promise it was all in good fun, really.
Who’s your favourite Hogwarts professor?