Re-reading Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11: Aboard the Hogwarts Express highlights a major problem facing the wizarding world in the 1990′s – a worldwide teacher shortage.
That’s really the only way I can explain the hiring process at Hogwarts. There must be a shortage of qualified teachers, semi-qualified teachers, or even mentally-sound teachers.
None of us has a clue what we’re doing!
In Chapter 11, we learn that Mad-Eye Moody will be joining the staff of Hogwarts,a mere day after his magical security system blew up a load of trashcans in his yard. This paranoid, albeit intelligent addition to the Hogwarts faculty joins the ranks and proud tradition of some other questionable hires:
- Quirinus Quirrell, who just-so-happened to have Voldermort growing out of the back of his head (pshaw! details…)
- Gilderoy Lockhart, who faked his resume and possessed no qualifications whatsoever beyond teaching children “How to smile…and be a jerk”
- Remus Lupin, who was arguably the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher Hogwarts has seen in a long time, were it not for the distinct possibility he could accidentally EAT ALL THE STUDENTS
- Sybill Trelawney, who managed to eek out one single solitary prediction of any merit (which is the equivalent of a math teacher solving for “X” once in his career)
- Rubeus Hagrid, who was absolutely delightful in the classroom, but probably didn’t have the best judgement (a Formula One driver might be really great with cars, but you wouldn’t have him teaching Driver’s Ed, would you?)
- Cuthbert Binns, who WASN’T EVEN ALIVE (I don’t care if he’s tenured – that’s grounds for termination)
This leads me to believe there is an overall lack of qualified educators in the wizarding community, a fact that comes as even more of a shock when you take into account how few wizard schools there seem to be.
The books, films, video games, and Pottermore confirm the existence of 7 full-time schools and 2 specialty schools (not unlike muggle dance academies) – Hogwarts, Beauxbatons, Durmstang, the Salem Witch’s Institute, Mahoutokoro, the Wizarding Academy of Dramatic Arts, and an unnamed school in Brazil plus Charm School and the Academy of Broom Flying.
This means there are 9 academic institutions occupying the UK, France, Sweden/Norway, Brazil, Japan, and the US. Are we then to assume these are the only wizard institutions out there, or that there are other schools that simply are not mentioned?
Logic dictates at the very least, there should be wizard schools in Africa, India, Russia, and Australia, if only to have a single academy in every general region. And it seems foolish to assume there are 4 full-time schools and 2 specialty schools in Europe, yet only a single school in the US, South America, and Asia each.
Additionally, if there is a wizard school of acting, there are wizard probably schools to serve all kinds of special talents and needs. If the wizard population mirrors the muggle one, it would be safe to assume there are wizard religious schools, wizard special education schools, wizard alternative schools, wizard music conservatories, and wizard vocational schools. I would also argue not all wizard schools are boarding schools. There must be wizard day schools and homeschools out there somewhere.
But even if we assume there are more wizard institutions than we ever hear about, why is it so difficult to find teachers with a basic understanding of working with children and who aren’t suffering from debilitating mental disorders? Logic dictates there should be an overabundance of educators in the wizardverse.
Well, for starters, how are wizard professors trained? Oh right, they aren’t!
There’s no such thing as a Wizard Education Major. The only qualifications a magical teacher needs are to possess some sort of knowledge of or propensity for a certain subject (displayed through working in the field or simply passing his O.W.L.s and/or N.E.W.T.s) or knowing the right people (isn’t that always the way?) Qualifications for are so lax, centaurs can be teachers. Let me say that again - CENTAURS can be teachers.
Now, I’m not saying real-world experience does not qualify someone to teach. Some of the best teachers are people who have first-hand experience. But shouldn’t a teacher show some sort of understanding of his chosen subject area beyond “I didn’t fail it in high school”?
That’s the problem: there are no wizard universities. Higher education isn’t an option. Even if a wizard wanted to pursue an education at a muggle college, the fact that he hasn’t taken a basic math or English class since he was in grade school might be a minor deterrence. Besides, it’s hard to find muggle colleges that teach runes.
But let’s say that whatever a potential wizard professor didn’t learn in the classroom, he learned out there on the mean streets. Shouldn’t he at least have to student teach or substitute or co-teach to show he can effectively manage a classroom?
Of course, maybe the problem isn’t that there is a lack of wizards who could teach, but rather a lack of teachers who want to teach.
Have you been to Hogwarts lately? That place is dangerous!
I mean, it’s a complete and utter deathtrap!
There’s a basilisk in the basement, a troll in the bathroom, a three-headed dog in the hallway, and spiders in the forest. Students are taught potions that kill, charms that maim, and how to play a sport that could result in plummeting a hundred feet to your death. Speaking of death, sometimes the students just up and die; sometimes the teachers just up and die; all of the times ghosts haunt the classrooms and dorms. Chunks of an evil wizard’s soul are scattered throughout the school, punishment for misbehavior involves carving crap into your hand, and every so often, a HUGE BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL happens on school grounds and a ton of people meet violent deaths.
Take that, Dangerous Minds! I want to see Michelle Pfieffer change the lives of these students!
(did I just age myself?)
Not to mention the fact that teachers at Hogwarts don’t appear to have actual families of their own or lives outside the school walls. (Check out the previous entry: “Why Aren’t Any Hogwarts Professors Married?”)
I drink because I’m lonely…
What do you think?
Does Dumbledore face a shortage of qualified wizard teachers in Goblet of Fire, or is it simply that no one dares take a job at Hogwarts School for Untimely Wizard Deaths? Does Dumbledore make smart hiring decisions, or do you question his ability to pick professors? Would you teach at Hogwarts?