We’ll kick off with Hermione, because, well – of course she would’ve made an amazing teacher. And it makes sense that she went into politics, since she was the most level-headed, even-tempered, sensible-seeming of her entire Hogwarts year. And she had a thorough and wise understanding of ethics, which can’t be said for some people who worked at the Ministry. But we can’t help but feel sorry for the future students of Hogwarts, who never got to experience what Harry and Ron took for granted: the kind of teacher who educates, who cares, who shares her own knowledge without ever being overbearing. Well, Harry and Ron may challenge us on that point.
We picture Hermione as the heir to the McGonagall throne, strict but fair. And if Fudge and his lot taught us anything, it was that the magical political world was no place for anyone with any sort of common sense! (Dumbledore was notorious for avoiding the top job). Hermione might well have brought sense to the Ministry, but we doubt it makes up for what Hogwarts lost in not having her as Headmistress.
As we learned from Hermione’s experience in Divination, success in the art of future-telling relied very strongly on a lack of any kind of analytical approach to the subject. Miss Brown had three defining characteristics: a love of gossip, a penchant for being a bit overly sentimental, and an abiding respect for the art of Divination.
From the very minute she entered the classroom, and had Friday the sixteenth of October ruined for her forever, she had the markings of a great Divination teacher – from her ability to read tea leaves through to her passion for crystal balls. We have no doubt at all that, once the fates had ushered Professor Trelawney onto her next destiny, Lavender Brown would have stepped competently, if a little tremulously, into her hot classroom, and instilled amorphous dread into the hearts of many students to come. She even has similar eccentric taste in jewellery to Trelawney. We all remember the ‘My Sweetheart’ necklace.
‘Ooooo!’ said Lavender suddenly, making everyone start. ‘Oooooo, Professor Trelawney, I’ve just remembered! You saw her leaving, didn’t you? Didn’t you, Professor? “Around Easter, one of our number will leave us forever!” You said it ages ago, Professor!’ Professor Trelawney gave her a dewy smile.
‘Yes, my dear, I did indeed know that Miss Granger would be leaving us. One hopes, however, that one might have mistaken the Signs ... the Inner Eye can be a burden, you know ...’
Lavender and Parvati looked deeply impressed, and moved over so that Professor Trelawney could join their table instead.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Ol’ Percival is another sound example of a brilliant brain that went to politics – what is it about the wizarding world that channels its best and brightest into positions of power, rather than letting them work their brand of academic magic on aspiring young sorcerers?
Percy might not have had Hermione’s personal charms, but there was no denying his intelligence – nor his instincts to lead. We all remember his Pinhead, sorry, Head Boy badge. And bearing that in mind, we wonder how well the earnest Percy would deal with Fred and George style students!
There are plenty of qualities that make for good teachers. People tend to recognise the most obvious ones: cleverness, a willingness to pass that on, genuine interest in the wellbeing of others, radish earrings... Oh wait, no, no that last one. Just as important, though, is an open mind and an interest in outside-the-box thinking, and Luna had both of those things in spades. And radish earrings! But enough about those. Who better to teach than someone so immune to farce and falsehood that not even a Polyjuice potion could stymie her? Let’s not forget that for all of Luna’s whimsical ways, she was also a very savvy Ravenclaw.
Throughout her interactions with Harry, what set Luna apart was a complete refusal to judge him, together with strong beliefs in her own principles, and these are the qualities that make us certain that she would have made an excellent teacher. Perhaps Luna could take on Care of Magical Creatures, where she could finally reveal to the world what Blibbering Humdingers actually are. And, failing those, we do know that she went on to marry Newt Scamander’s grandson, Rolf Scamander, so a few magizoologists in the family would probably help her with the syllabus.
At any rate, one thing is for certain: later generations of Hogwarts students will have been entering an institution that nearly crumbled because people were afraid to speak freely – and having a teacher in place who always spoke her mind, no matter how much people laughed at her, could do nothing but good.